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  CSPAN    Politics Public Policy Today    News/Business.  

    October 5, 2012
    2:00 - 7:53pm EDT  

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of new jersey. it's important in a post september 1 world where we find that multiple transportation modes are important for the security of it. and ultimately it is one of the largest forms of transportation today. they are bustling on amtrak. you sometimes can't get a seat on amtrak these days. so the entire amtrak system is something i fought for and something i continue to try to preserve. >> senator, earlier you mentioned your response ship of the iran anxiouses resolution. regarding their nuclear capability, how much time do you feel we can give sanctions the chance to work and what options do you advocate employing to stop their nuclear capability outside of sanctions, if any? >> iran is a national security
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threat to the united states and to israel. that's why i authorized the most crippling sanctions one country has ever eleven individual against another against iran. the results of that we just saw in news reports this week their currency devalued by 40%. the shipments of oil dramatically reduced hurting their economy. those sanctions i co-authorized is to create an economic news to deter them from seeking nuclear weapons. so i believe these sanctions still have time. it is been suggestioned the time clock is sometime next year. if these sanctions cripple their economy, i think we can
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deter them. >> well, that all sounds just fine but unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the sanctions are working. too little, too late and it's a very critical time for our country and for the world at large. and so i know that as a member of the senate, i'm going to do everything humanly possible through my vote, through advocacy and in every other way to make sure that iran never, never gets a nuclear weapon. this is the greatest threat to our country and to the world. and i just hope that the folks in washington understand what is at stake.
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i find it inexplicable that the prime minister was in our country in new york an amtrak away and the senator refused to meet with him. that makes me neshes. >> you criticized the senator for a troop with drawl time line in afghanistan. you said when the mission is complete we will bring the troops home and you defined the mission as disabled the taliban. the taliban are resurgnt or persist nt, are you prepared to see u.s. troops stay indefinitely? >> at this point i agree with the time line. we want to bring our men and women back home. what troubles me is that when we make decisions for political
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purposes, perhaps for election purposes. and i'm not sure that plighting our intentions to put out difficult nit time lines was and would be the smartest answer. you've got people over there that want to do us harm. you've got the taliban there that think about human bppings differently than we do. we know about the atrosstiss to women. and so we haven't done a good enough job in educating our country about the bad guys that exist. that we need to meet them offshore before they come on shore. it's only been ten years since 9/11. >> first of all, i applaud the
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president for having brought our sons and daughters home from iraq. a war we should have never been in and a war i voted against. i have been an advocate in changing our policy in afghanistan to count terrorism. we're trying to prop up a government in afghanistan. couldn't terrorism requires far less troops and focuses at striking against al qaeda sweledl as well as any taliban insurjents we might need for the purpose of our fight. i believe that the draw down in afghanistan is well positioned. i'm actually an advocate of something that is more accelerated. i have been for quite some time
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and i believe we focus on couldn't terrorism which risks less lives. >> we're going to go back on the economy. you say you support a comprehensive solution to the deficit that includes revenues and cuts in spending. can you name one program you've eliminated while you've been in congress? >> yes the s 22. i voted this is something the pentagon did not want but there were those advocating for it. i voted against the s22 which was cut by the way. i voted on a different alternative fighter engine that was not necessary as well and that was cut. and those are examples of programs that were cut. but whey don't want to do is what my opponent says he
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embraces the ryan budget. what does the ryan budget do? it ends medicare, makes it a voucher. dramatically cuts assisttons education in our country. as someone who grew up poor, the first of my family to go to college, i want pell grants to be out there and keeping student interest loan low so every child can achieve an education. it is important to do this tpwh a balance way for middle class interest. >> when i'm there we're going to have a budget that i will work on and advocate for and compromise along the way without sacrificing principle with my colleagues. you talk about congressman ryan, it's more of the same. it's the other guy's fault. you've been there a long time.
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your party has been the majority in the senate for a long time, i think your entire term. i have some very specific plans. we have discipline here in new jersey. it's not always pretty but when we deal with our state budget we do what we need to do. we don't get to print money so we work hard and we have in the last few years to make things right. we now spend 24% of the economy on government. i want to get it down to its historic place of closer to 20% over time and that's going to take work. it's going to take some time. but in the fullness of time, we have no choice. >> as a united states senator you would be called upon to vote up or down on supreme court no, ma'am niece. do you have a litmus test for judges and specifically to you
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senator could you vote in the affirmative for a justice who might find the march act that same sex couples are not entitled to benefits unconstitutional and senator could you vote for a justice that might reverse row v. wade. >> i don't have a litmus test. i've had experience nominating judges and confirming judges to the supreme court as a member of the senate. i'm going to look to nominees for their intellect, their experience, for their predisposition to not legitimate late from the bench. and i will look to nominees of
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the president of either party and treat them fairly as i have in the past. >> well, i agree with my opponent to this various elements are very important to anyone who wants to be a justice of the supreme court, certainly intellect, experience, obs vance of the rule of law and precedent. but the supreme court is the final word of what is the law of the land and so therefore i don't want to see more who say that discrimination against women and discrimination based on gender is not protected against under the constitution. when i go by the supreme court on my way to work every day over the mantle it says equal justice under law. it does not say equal justice for some people in america and not for others. and as it relates to row v.
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wade, i support that. i support a woman's right to choose. my opponent i don't know which view he has. last year he was prolife, now he's pro-choice. >> senator business and industry complain that the 2010 fair act will be expensive and cut into profits and slow the economic recovery. how do you respond to critics who argue that the economic burden of implementing this policy will wind up costing even more american jobs? >> first of all, the reality is what did he have before the law, double premium increases, unsustainable for a family who might not get it at work but needs to purchase it. that was the reality before the law.
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millions of people in this country had no insurance whatsoever going to an emergency room as their primary care source. and we had asset of circumstances which insurance companies could freely discriminate against individuals based on preexisting conditions. all of that is largely done away with with the affordable care act. in fact many small businesses in our state have already begun to get access to the subsidies to offer insurance. and so controlling cost moving to a presentta tive healthcare system and making sure we end discrimination on insurance and making sure people are covered is going to be good for business. >> i've been pretty clear about my position on life. we can talk about it now or another time. with regard to judges senator, i think maybe at some point
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we'll talk about the judge that you held up for so long. but the question at hand was the affordable care act. well, listen, there is no question that we've got big challenges in our country and there are elements of so-called obama care. e i saw last night he didn't mind it last night referred that way. and i've supported them here in new jersey. people with preexisting illnesses should be covered. young adults should have some time perhaps to stay on their parent's policies. but this law comes at a very very high cost. 20 new taxes, $716 billion out
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of medicare. it's not right senator. >> the next question. >> early in the debate you said as you often do that this country has experienced 43 months of over 8% unemployment and on your website under joe's plan you say in new jersey they have shown there is a better way. so why is unemployment in this state 9.9% if you've shown the better way? >> because we don't have a strong national economy, because the senator and his colleagues and the executive branch are following a path that is failing us. and if we elect them yet again, we'll get more of the same. there is nothing wrong with our new jersey economy that a roaring national economy wouldn't cure. now here at home, we're doing everything we can to make
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things right. we're balancing our budgets, we're doing it without tax increases. we are rolling out economic incentives. we do things and we do it in a by partisan way because many of our successes, all of them by necessity, we do with the democratic leadership in the legislature. so can you image if you're former colleague was governor of this state? i know you're close to him. you pointed to the seat originally. i can't image that new jersey would be doing better. we're not an island, we need a good american economy to come back. >> i find it interesting my opponent would like to cast all the the national ills at my doorstep. but he's been in trenton for 24 years. property taxes are among the highest in the nation.
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you have tuition rates among growing dramatically. you have less teachers in class rooms as a result of his votes. and so you have unemployment high. when we bring money like under the home keeper program, $300 million to keep people in their homes, they don't have the oversight to make sure it gets used. so the reality is what i've been doing is working to create jobs in new jersey. $52 million for buy tech companies. 750 solar projects in new jersey. there are people working in the solar industry in new jersey alone. the transportation bill is going to save 52,000 jobs. this is how we get this economy movering. >> the next question.
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>> you know that come january 1 we're looking at a fiscal cliff on taxes. you say you will support extended them for february 1 for the upper two bracts even those those people live in new jersey. what will you do if republicans continue to insist that all the tax cuts be extended, will you vopet against that and insist that everybody's taxes go up? >> my opponent talks about debt and how we have to get around the debt. if you just continue all the tax cuts and you continue to treat capital gaines and dividends and then lower the rates as he wants to, then, i don't know but that arith ma tick doesn't work. so the bottom line is something has to give. my clithep fight is for middle
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class families in new jersey. that's why i voted to continue to last set of tax cuts because the republicans held middle class tax cuts hostage to the tax cuts for the healthiest. my fight was to create the educational opportunity tax credit that helped new jersey people get their kids educated. and my fight i led with a republican colleague is to ensure that more than 2 million new jersey people don't get bit by an shouldev be suac yb that's the waiting period and i don't believe in late and third trimester abortions. the europeans look at this in a similar way. people make up their own mind but have reasonable constraints that reflect the seriousness of this subject. and that's how i feel and i
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think most americans aze talk to them, most people in new jersey, most people feel the very same way. and i have supported millions of dollars in funding for women's health in a very long career. >> it may be hard to believe but we've reached that time already for the closing statements. we have covered a lot of ground this evening. we want to thank you for being here and being open and for discussing these issues which are important to the american people as we prepare to make a decision on election day. the candidates get 90 seconds for their closing statements. i remind the audience to refrain from aplause until they are finished speaking. there was a coin toss once again to choose wholed go first and second. senator please begin with your opening statement. >> thank you everyone.
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this debate offers a really cleer contrast. after 20 years in washington, senator, as i've said, i really believe you offer more of the same. and i'm offering real solutions in the promise that we can do better. it's that simple. more of the same from bob, more or a better future from myself. my father came to new jersey to look for a better life. he worked hard and he found it. that's the american dream. i believe in that dream. i believe in the student for people to work hard and make a great life for themselves and their families. the senator says he's concerned about the middle class. i'm concerned about the middle class. and middle class isn't doing very well. joe biden let it slip out the other day, they've been buried, buried under debt, buried out of work, buried with high gas
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prices, shovel ready senator? if you listen closely to the senator, you'll realize if you re-elect him, we're going to get more of the same, more taxes on the middle class and more peril for our children's future. america is in a crisis. if you can believe that we can do better as i do, that we can improve the lives for all of our citizens, put them back to work, and keep this american dream alive and well for our children, our grandchildren, you'll choose me. >> thank you. >> i wanted to thank everyone. look the middle class is under attack and that's why i have been fighting back. i led the charge to crack down on wall street's abusive practices. a championed targeted tax relief to the middle clafments
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those things that can help them be able to raise their families. my opponent votes for tax breaks for millionaires but against tax breaks for middle class. i help stop insurance from denying those with preexisting conditions. he want to repeal the law that made all of that possible. i supported tax credits that make work pay here and stop sending it abroad and yes there are tax provisions that give credits for companies that actually take jobs abroad. i have voted to close those. my oponalt has plans that is very different. i fought for equal pay for equal work and helped pass the law that does that and delivered federal funding for women's healthcare. my opponent walked out on women on paycheck fairness f, didn't cast a vote, not once, not twice but six times he voted against funding for women's
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healthcare in our state while i was wringing millions of dollars for those women to get healthcare. his votes put teachers out of the class rooms, my vote puts teachers back in the class rooms. i understand the challenges of middle class families in this state. that's why i work hard on jobs and making sure healthcare is there. that's why i ask for your vote in this election. >> we leave it there. we thank you for coming here. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> we close now with thanks to all of our panelists for being here.
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and we thank you to both senators. thank you for watching. from all oufs at njtv.>> both cg about unemployment in virginia. in southern virginia, mitt romney talked about supporting coal at his rally. we will show you that at 8:30 p.m. eastern. sunday morning, the connecticut senate debate, linda mcmahon
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against chris murphy. that the date is sunday morning, 11:00 eastern on c- span. >> need to tackle our challenges before they tackle us. we need to save and strengthen medicare and social security, and we are putting the ideas on the table. we are going to save these benefits for seniors and my generation so these promises are kept. >> they have laid out that what barack obama and joe biden did is they stole money from medicare and have done "obamacare." nothing could be further from the truth. >> thursday night, paul ryan and joe biden will face off in their only debate. this is from center college in
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danville, ky. you can watch beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern, followed by the debate at 9:00. as the presidential candidates meet for the debates, we are asking high school students to send a message to the president as part of the student cam competition. students will answer the question, what is the most important issue? there is $50,000 in total price is available. it is open to students grades 6 through 12. go online to studemntcam.org. >> the associated press reports on more artillery fighting between turkey and syria. yesterday syrian activists
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predict that the assad regime will fall. this was held by the u.s. institute of peace, and it is close to two hours. >> good morning. in jim marshall, the new president of the institute of peace, which i am delighted to tell you, and i am pleased everyone is here for an import -- to hear about and the port project that has been sponsored by the institute for peace. my job is to introduce steve heideman. he has directed the center for
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democracy and civil studies -- civil society at georgetown. he -- he is a terrific asset for the institute. this project is driven by syrians, with technical assistance and other kinds of assistance from the institute and a sister institute in germany. it is important these efforts are driven by local populations, things that are handed down from the united states did not work all that well. we are pleased that you are here. i hope you have lots of questions, and if i can turn this over to you -- >> thank you para much, and let me add my welcome to you. we are delighted to see you here this morning. it will be an interesting conversation about syria after assad the challenges of
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managing a transition period as jim mentioned, the event this morning is in many ways a culmination of a project that has been in the destination for about nine months. if that there's any similarity to other properties of gestation, it is a coincidence. this event this morning is an opportunity for us to discuss a document the day after, which we have it available for you to pick up upstairs, both in arabic and english on a cd that contains strategies and recommendations for how syrians can cope with the broad range of challenges that are inevitably going to follow the transition to a post-assad era. what is critical is that this is
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at the very much the product of deliberations and discussions and debate, sometimes quite heated debates, among a group of about 45 to 50 people who worked through the ideas that were presented in this document. what i would like to stress, however, in getting us started, is when we began our conception of what we were doing was thinking of about -- thinking about issues and challenges that would add rice at a moment some distance in the future. we imagine ourselves as thinking about how to plan for problems that were on a horizon. as the syrian resolution -- revolution has unfolded, it has
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become increasingly clear to us that we need to revise the conception of the document and revise how we think about its potential to make a difference in the lives of syrians today. what we are seeing in syria is a process in which transition is not going to happen through the overthrow of the assad regime as a dramatic event that changes the political landscape from one day to the next. what we are seeing is an incremental transition in syria. we are seeing an transition that is unfolding in a whirlwind fashion, beginning in areas that have been liberated from government control and had exercised authority over their own local affairs, sometimes for periods of many months. so as we recognize that in fact
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the transition to a post-assad era is already under way, the principles contained in this document no longer become a matter of speculating about the future. did they become an opportunity to develop concrete programs and concrete strategies that can make a difference in consolidating the processes of transition that have already begun in those areas of syria that are today living outside of the control of the syrian government. and that gives our document and urgency and relevance that we are very anxious to build on in an next faces of our work as we move out beyond what we have done thus far to produce this document and think about how to
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make it meaningful in the everyday lives of syrians who are now beginning to build futures for themselves, free from the authority of the authoritarian assad regime, and it is in that spirit that we want to talk about the documents this morning, not only to provide you with background about its origins and the process through which it was produced, not only to talk about some of the ideas it contains at some of the key recommendations that it makes in the issue areas that are -- our panelists focused on, how we can use the document as a tool to facilitate consolidation of transitional areas beginning right away. what we would like to do it this morning to get started is you startedbios of our speakers, so
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i will not go through them ourselves. you can reference them. the panelists will speak in the order in which they appear in the agenda. i would also like to add that we are being wed cast. there is a viewer ship online, we invite to submit questions to us, through our website. we will also be tweeting about the event, and we encourage those who are following the event on twitter to send in questions as well. we will integrate those into our conversation as the morning unfolds. i am afraid i also need to mention the standard comment about your cell phones or other devices you might have. you would silence then, we will appreciate it. to get us started with this conversation about our document,
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we would like to turn to the professor curse served on the executive committee of our day- after project to tell us about its origins, genesis, and the process through which this group of syrians developed the content of the day after report. >> thank you very much, steve. i would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to steve because without you, we would not have really gotten as far as we have, and i would like to say that from the start. by june 2011, when the syrian uprising had been sort of slowly building its pace, it was becoming clear to us who were involved in the opposition that there was a critical component that was missing for us.
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it was our ability to answer a question that kept coming back to us time and time again, and we were hearing it not just from the inside, but from the outside as well. by outside, i mean both in terms of syrians living overseas, may be living in the u.s. or elsewhere and also from administrations, governments around the world, and obviously from the street itself, from the people, the people we were trying to convince that this is an important change that had to come, that assad had to go. who is the alternative? it was always focused on who the person, and we were facing a critical issue. if people are still thinking of changing one of the individual for another, when the dictator for another, then we are not
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moving forward. we wanted to change -- we thought it was in part to get people to think what is the alternative. in order for us to ensure that question, which also had to be able to have a clear vision that we could articulate the people, that people who were engaged in the opposition and its work could articulate to those who are asking that question, both inside and outside, administrations. , what is the alternative but to become of what will it look like. this is where a group of syrian opposition members, some of the inside, outside, began to have a series of conversations on how to begin to develop this idea of what is the alternative. also, this is when steve and usip stepped in and we started to work with them in terms of
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beginning to develop this idea. over the next few months, the core concepts of how we are going to begin to develop such an idea are in shape, and by january, the first of our series take place in berlin. we were able to gather almost 50 syrian opposition members, some activists, some well-known figures, which belonged to some lcc, ortions t, or the the other numerous entities that are part of this broader specterum of the syrian positio, people who have a certain level of expertise in a certain area
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that we felt would be of great assistance to us. over the coming months, the syrians would meet regularly, usually once a month in berlin, sometimes on some occasions twice a month, and we began to address six areas. these were transitional justice, security or form, social and economic restrictions, constitution reform, and role of law. experts were divided amongst these six categories and with each and work within that group to try to develop a patient or answer to the question of what is the alternative going to be. the discussions were sometimes robust, and we never thought --
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sought to gain absolute agreement over everything, but what was important, which to get many of the ideas and the divisions that people had, and articulate them in a form that could then be used by a teacher for a transitional government or body or entity that would eventually emerge from the opposition to it then -- so when the regime falls they would have the necessary information, mechanisms, and support they would need in order to see this transition through. it is important for me to state this is not -- we're not the only people who have set out to do something like this. there are other people who have also done more focus perhaps or similar types of work, and this is -- the day after project,
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along with all the other efforts out there are all supposed ultimately be there at the disposal of the opposition, of the transitional government that to use and apply an assist them in the transition process. i think one last point i would like to make before i pass it on to my colleagues, because i think they would like to tell you more about the sectors that they worked on. it is important to note that transition does not began -- there is a misconception that transition begins when the regime all. transition begins now. it needs to be a culture change. you have to prepare the ground and you have to explain to people how this transition process goes. there are key fundamentals, concept that people have to
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become familiar with, that they have to accept or at least be introduced to sober when the transition happens we are prepared when we hit the ground runny. there is a lot of work being done in these areas. right now there are large parts of syria to have been liberated from the i thought rich king, from the current government control, and already people there are actually actively bidding and practicing this transition. and our work and the work of others is now being applied and recants -- we can begin to see the results of our efforts and we can also evolves efforts. this is an evolving document. we intend it to always be as such, and we are now actively participating in the development
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and in the application and use of the document. i will now pass it on to my colleague who will take it from there. >> you mentioned something. port, which is the work that needs to happen now to begin creating a kind of change in the mindset and orientation of the syrians on the ground about the future. and the person who worked on the transitional justice component of the document, i think was dealing with one of the issues in which that change is most urgent and most essentials. if you will recall back in late may, news began to leak out from syria of an atrocious massacre committed in the village of hula. it is the first of what became many similar maskers. the escalation of violence
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directed against civilians has had a corrosive effect on syrians participating in this promotion. it has deep sectarian tensions. it has deep inter-communal hatred. it has a deep desire of hatred on the part of those who wish to inflict revenge. in contains -- labor to side with the opposition, and a transitional justice framework, the transitional justice field offers us strategies and opportunities to provide alternatives to syrians on the ground today that can respond to the demand for justice, the legitimate demand for justice, the legitimate demand that
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perpetrators be held to account in ways that do not fall back on revenge, cycles of revenge, cycles of violence and killing that would only delay syria's transition to a stable, peaceful, and potentially even democratic political order. said the agreement in with which he was working is one that we feel drives us most urgently to become engaged in work on the ground in syria. please? >> for many people, syria emerged almost heavily in the media within the context of the arab spring. that is the nature of a global media, that we tend to become aware of a crisis situation after something has been going on for along time. syrians have been suffering under martial law, and a brutal
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dictatorship for the last four decades and even more. so much has been happening in syria, but on the outside, it seemed like a stable society. stability was more a euphemism for a pressure cooker. syria is a deeply traumatized society. we have had massacres, and disappearances in the 1980's went there was a net pricing that turned into an armed conflict, and then the regime that, causingly crushed the deaths of over 30,000 in one town in a 27-day military campaign. in the next following 10 years, which would inform you what the syrians are willing to sacrifice so much. in the following 10 years, the syrian regime collectively punished the society, and there were about 80,000 this appearances.
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it is almost an impossibility to meet the syrian who has not been directly or indirectly close family friends, not impacted by this regime. to give an example, i have a cousin who has been in prison for 31 years without trial. one day he disappeared. it took his family years to know he was alive. we have, and friends who do not know the fate of their disappeared parents. and so syria for a long time does not experience the role of law and the accountability and the discourse of human rights. this project, although not binding in many of its recommendations, but it is trying to do is raise the bar within syria in the political discourse we have had for the last decade. the regime no word this bar and the national discourse.
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there was no mention of human rights, even though syria was one of the members that signed many human rights treaties, but it never followed them up. there were always arbitrary detentions and an incredible level of torture to constantly scarce syrians. that is a very messy situation, and in the last year and a half, that was intensified systematically and consistently, and you saw the face of the urging that the syrians have been enduring for these last decades. what was underground, the suffering underground comic came to the surface. this would explain the willingness and resilience of the syrian people not to go back, because they knew they cannot this revolution. but this revolution started was was to bring syria back to the rule of law, and that is what it was a revolution of dignity, and the party or hungry.
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that is what traditional justice is at the core of the post-assad time, a process that would allow sirius to come back to the course of history. over 80 million syrians are in exile, in a country that have forced people to leave. what we want to do in this project is provide a framework where syrians are empowered to taking state back into their hands and create a culture that would respect human rights and create a culture that is under the rule of law, where a syrian does not appear -- does not disappear. we wanted to create a framework that focuses on healing and reconciliation and creating a
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political discourse based on accountability. i do not want to get into too much detail because you will find that in the document. we try to focus on mechanisms that would allow that conversation to begin by encouraging syrians to connect in the post-assad period use the existing structures. there are a lot of customary laws in syria, and said that would help the legal process as well. given the amount of violations in syria, it would be impossible to use only legal framework to allow back healing and that transition and create that accountability. transitional justice, some of you are familiar with, dealing with different mechanisms that would allow that healing and transition. there are truth commissions that would allow the syrians to be able to tell what happened to
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that, because sometimes what we have found in looking at other examples and latin america or eastern europe or south africa that when people, even if they do not have those who violated the them tried, but when they were able to tell what happened to them, when they were able to share their experiences and uffering wasi acknowledged, there was a great deal of hearing. we're creating a framework where there would be a variety of approaches to trenches it'll crest to transitional justice. we want to make them aware that transitional justice is not just a legal process, but the cultural, and something theological that they can all participate in, and we wanted to get them recommendations have allowed us to be empowered as citizens and participate in the process. i will give the microphone to my
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colleagues, but we can of course have conversations later. >> thank you. murhaf jouejati worked on our project, and has implications for that date of the syrian revolution and its future. it includes question like what do we do about the massive internal security apparatus that the syrian regime has created what happens to it in the yvette that a more comprehensive transition process is possible? it includes questions about how do we ensure the provision of day today security during a transitional period? it includes questions like how do we avoid the kind of outcome
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that we have seen in a case like libya, where the fall of the old regime left in its wake dozens of armed militia groups whose activities we have seen recently culminated in the kind of violence that brought about the murder of an american diplomat? how do we begin thinking now about strategies and processes for the provisional of security, the reform of institutions, and for the transformation of a broader culture in syria that has elevated security and the security apparatus to a position that supersedes democratic processes, rule of law, formal institutions, and subordinates them to the preferences of those who run the security apparatus? how do we get serious out of that kind of a context and into one in which the securities
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sector functions in a fashion consistent with a rule of law? these are the challenges that the group was dealing with. >> thank you very much. good morning. this is a work in progress, as more and more areas are being liberated. this docket is not written in stone, nor is it a blueprint. it is a list of suggestions for a future transitional government, but we continue to work on it, to be relevant to what is happening today. yria haswas said that seriou been under martial law since 1963. we have taken these things into account, martial law, the fact that the syrian army had been an ideological army, whose purpose really a lot, with intelligence services, only to prop up and up
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tartarian and corrupt receipt. we laid out some principles in the securities sector reform, the most important of which i think is the civilian authority over the army, an army that would be able, and security services, that would provide an environment to the citizenry to be able to express themselves politically and economically and socially, and also an armed force that would defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of syria. this sector, armed forces, intelligence services, the national police, would be apolitical. we thought of the many challenges ahead, and there are a number of challenges we have taken. we have taken lessons learned
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from iraq, from libya, and we are under no illusion that there would not be some measure of chaos the day after the collapse of the assad regime treat this may include a vengeance killings, civil disturbances, leaking, and certainly it will include an instrument of reaching power to try to destabilize the situation that is already highly unstable. we took together really all of the potential challenges that we face and head, and we tried to see the possible solutions for each. luckily for us, there are many regional military councils that have endorsed the principle of civilian authority over the military. this is good news. we note the national police and
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syria have for the most part has left itself out from this crisis, so there are many elements within the national police that we will be identifying and many elements within the regular forces that are good apples that we can rely on after the collapse of the regime to put these security forces in the way before seat. this is a lesson learned from iraq, because we do not want to paralyse or kill the institutions of security. certainly, those that would be totally revamped our intelligence services as they are the ones that have the most blood on their hands. let me stop here and i will be happy to take your questions. >> in addition to the concerns that afra and murhaf discussed,
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perhaps the other most significant dimension of the conflict with which our project and gauged concerned economic and social reconstruction. the revolution has produced an extraordinary destruction across syria. the images in aleppo yesterday following the bombing that took place were horrific, but they were far from unusual. that level of destruction is present in the towns and cities from one end of syria to the other, and it will take a herculean effort, including an extraordinary commitments on the part of an international community is in many respects quite weary of the demands of states requiring assistance. if we construction is to proceed effectively, there is an extraordinarily tragic
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humanitarian dimension. and million internally displaced, projections there will be 700,000 refugees from syria by the end of the year. these are extraordinary numbers. again, the efforts involved in the address the needs and concerns of economic reconstruction will be hugely influential in shaping the fate a post-assad transition and the traditional efforts under way. even as the international community and syrians wrestle with those issues, there is the added concern that the institutions of economic governance that existed in syria that the belt in syria to out the assad period utterly dysfunctional, corrupt, inefficient, and that has to be
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addressed in a process of social reconstruction. here again we have another arena where the scale of the challenge is enormous and the imperative of beginning now to try to respond is very critical. with that i will turn it over to rafif jouejati. >> thank you and good morning. as has been indicated, we have so many challenges before us that we almost did not know where to start. we're looking at the immediate needs of the internally displaced. we are looking at a refugee crisis outside of syria. we are looking at the absolute devastation across the entire country. how could we prioritize? we realized that all of these
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challenges at to be canceled concurrently. and so what we did was we established a series of objectives through which we could address our economic and social issues, but also support some of the other areas we talked about, like transitional justice and roll hall at supporting the reform of the securities sector. the first objective was to consolidate peace, to put an end to the bloodshed, to stop the killing. we also looked at means of ending sectarian violence and add additional budget through revenge killings. another objective was to look at urgent humanitarian needs in terms of medical care, psycho- social support for a population that has been traumatized, not only through the revolution, but to the four decades of authoritarian rule. we looked at restoring basic
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services, such as water, sanitation, electricity, and education. this is a means to help develop civil society. we looked at rehabilitating the physical infrastructure and determining which areas could be saved first so as to resettle the maximum number of people. one of our most important objectives in this area is to empower local communities, and we are seeing that happening across syria in many of the liberated areas. we believe one of the keys to empower in the local communities is through the creation of jobs, and we see an excellent example today where the local community has prepared its industrial bakery, it is producing brad for almost 80% of the population,
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there is a police force complete with new uniforms represent the revolution. it is becoming a self-sustaining community, so this is a major priority for us. we have also discussed promoting macro-economic stability by far street activity at the local levels in line with and powering a local community. we did talk in our committee about the slow process of dismantling the legacies of the assad regime, to slowly transformed society away from the corruption and that the nepotism. what we have today is a situation where even the slightest transaction requires bribes, where the cousin of the president is known as mr. 10%, where people know routinely that they cannot effect any transactions without a kickback to the government. this is a major priority for us,
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and there are others that i am certain we will revisit as we continually update the document. thank you. >> thank you. we spent a great deal of time, our syria colleagues, developing this document, discussing it, debating it. some of the conversations were quite heated. the document is this, and the question is, what happens to it from here? i have mentioned my sense and i keep i speak for the group as a whole that this is not a document which targets some future transitional process, beginning at a date yet to be determined, but is a document that can in for how we engage in support of the syrian opposition today, but how does that happen? what kind of steps can we take to ensure that this is not just gather dust on the shelf? one thing we are very pleased about is that the document has
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become something of a reference point for a global debate and discussion about processes of transition in syria pick it has been endorsed by the syrian national council. it has strong support among the syrian muslim brotherhood. it has been widely circulated among local coordination committees inside syria. it was endorsed by the european union parliament in a resolution passed on september 13. there is broad global awareness of the report, support for its contents. that in an of itself is not enough to ensure what the work that has gone into it will begin taking a difference on the ground. and that is the challenge that we are now turning our attention to. and i would like -- whom i have
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had that privilege of working closely for the past nine months, as coordinator in the usip role this project to talk about what is happening from here, what we intend to do with this to make sure it begins to make a divorce on the ground. >> that you so much. i remember it has been 15 months when i met you in beirut. that was the first time i met you, and i was talking about my evolutionary situation, and you seemed more skeptical about the outcomes of this. you were more interested to talk about the day after come out to take it from a to b. i went back to my group i was working with, and we started
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this debate about the day after. we started to assess our capacity to work with this issue. we were aware that the day after is not really something far away. it is starting right now. it is happening while we were in the first few months of the uprising. we realized as the syrian opposition, we are young. back then we were 5 months old. our birth is the first day of the uprising. we realized we do not have the capacity to undertake such a big project. we do not have the entities that can handle such projects. the debate heated up, and i came back to you but the feedback, and i told you we'd need to do this. this is what we are expecting from the democratic world, from
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countries, from established democracies, we need the support to do this. and then after that i got political asylum in the u.s.a., and we started working on this. i will start now to talk about the document, how we present it to the syrian people. we have been telling everybody, we are not trying to tell the syrian transition government what to do or what not to do. this is an effort of more than 58 syrian members of the opposition, some of them experts. we have supported them -- we are supported by international expertise in all the mains. we have discussed, and we came up with these recommendations,
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how to take it from a to b, out to make sure the goals of this revolution will be achieved. we are not seen what we want to do in this document. we are saying how we are going to do it. that is what we have been debating the syrian people right now, but at the same time we visit the document in this way, but at the same time we are very confident of the method that we need for the stock and debt. we're very confident on the expertise, the case studies we have been researching, and the result that the we have come up with. we will save no efforts to do our best to implement the implementations. in so many different levels, the
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executive committee of the day after project, they came together and we formed the day after association registered in brussels. also usip continues to support the day after project, and we will establish a transition support network. i have been in turkey to few days ago, and we're looking for an office there, and we will establish this office in a place where we can be in touch with the syrian people, directly, with syrian activists, with leaders, most of them in istanbul right now, and keep and -- andnk their worke disseminate their work. we have reached many
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international actors. they have been reaching out to us for our document. they need to support our effort the implementation of the day after project. usip is supporting the day after the association in its work, and they will keep supporting -- and i am moving back to is the double -- to istanbul to continue the work and their recommendation of the day after project at many different levels. and it transitional justice, we are working the committee for transitional justice, and in their role lot as well, we have been reaching out from donors to work on the securities sector before and continue working with the implementation of the day
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after project, the implementation in this sector. i will have the opportunity to say thank you for you in person. you have been investing tremendously in this project. thank you for usip and also for our german partner. as syrian people, as the syrian generation, this is exactly what we expect from you to help us, and we are really thankful. >> you very much. we have had some good material to work with, as this group has made clear. rami, mentioned the importance of communicating ideas to the syrian people themselves. that is something that we are attended to at have begun to develop strategies for. as part of our project, and
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rafif span centrally involved in one of those efforts with the support of the swiss ministry of foreign affairs, and perhaps you would like to tell this group about one of the framework's we have developed to communicate ideas from the project inside of syria. >> certainly, thank you. we're working with the union of free syrian students who have a network of approximately 80 branches throughout the country. they have the document and are circulating in the different communities. in addition, we have developed a communications campaign that beat will be rolling out in the coming days. it is called serial belongs to us. we are going to different communities, different generations, to its sectors of the economy to reinforce the messages we have in our recommendations out of each of the six working areas. for example, we are reaching out to religious elders to appeal to
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their communities to not engage in revenge killings or to impress upon communities that need to not seek out revenge. we are going to the business community to appeal to them conscious of the need to jump- start some local communities and at our different sectors of society. we are looking at protecting some of the vulnerable communities, women, children, minority communities. you will see this rolling out. for those of you on twitter, look out for the hashtags, and we will be releasing the as and material to keep that message going. outside syria, but especially inside. >> thank you very much. we would like to begin a conversation with you. there are microphones on either side of the auditorium, and we would ask you to line up behind the mikes in order to ask our
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presenters this morning questions. while folks are lining up or getting ready for questions, i would like to say that the institute as well needs to thank a number of individuals and institutions who helped make this effort possible. not only the syrian opposition participants who committed an extraordinary amount of their time to it, but the state department, middle east partnership initiative which provided funding for the effort, the swiss ministry of foreign dutch and norwegian ngo's. all these organizations provide support to make this call. we felt it was poured to do this work in a setting that could be perceived by all of our syrians they couldspace which i
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talk. those meetings were facilitated by a german partner, the swiss institute for international and military affairs, and said this was really a collection of participants, partners, supporters that made this effort possible, and that we hope will continue to support the work as we move forward. let's begin now and i will move across as questions arise. and please identify yourself before you ask a question. >> this question is for ms. jalabi. could you explain the prospects of the transitional prospect extending back prior to the revolution and possibly back until 1963? can you explain the importance of covering this time and also
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the challenges that this may face, both in implementation and in possible peace negotiations with the government? >> we tried to actually deal with this because we have the pressing issue of the recent violations. that is extremely significant in the syrian psyche at the moment, given our recent and how large, and as my colleague and friend was discussing, the extent of the destruction. it is really an overwhelming reality at the moment. however you have syrians who have been impacted very much throughout the last decade. the way we are trying to deal with this in the document is we have recommended two committees, a historic committee that would deal with violations of human rights prior to the revolution, and one that is dealing with the
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recent violations. we would go into the copper -- jealous of documentation. this is the process syrians have to go through, because we have not counted all the dead yet, or have given serious a sense of accountability for what has happened to them, for the this parents, torture, and all they went through. recently, in a workshop in istanbul, which went and gave us a sense of how serious are responding in positive ways to die, there were activists thinking about these issues, but did not have all the ways the answer and they were expecting to have some of the recommendations we were making. they have some reservations about the works historic. they like very much the concept an idea behind it, but did not want to see the history because of the syrians a sense that these were dated violations,
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that they were some hecht historical issues, that they wanted a term that we will actually looking into, it wanted a term that expressed the relevance, and that they would be treated as fresh violations, because they were never dealt with. we're hoping to create a framework in which all violations will be heard and there would be a process of documenting and verification for evidence. there are mass graves in a syria where many were buried without identified. you will find specific room recommendations, but they can for the question. regarding the issue and the document at the moment, at the moment the people are not thinking about negotiating with the regime because the regime itself has put itself in a very
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stiff opposition, and it has placed the three people in a place where they see it at racing back to a slave situation or they will be destroyed and bombed. internationally, the regime has been doing a double speak and playing games. it's as to the international community, we will withdraw heavy machinery and we will negotiate with the opposition, but underground, on the ground, it is completely the opposite picked that date they suspended martial law, they bombed a city. syrians have been seeing this, and it is interesting to see how a dictatorship is trying seen as applying and subscribing to the norms of international community while it is crushing its people brutally. >> thank you. >> good morning.
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thank you for having this talk. i am with tock radio news service for it i'd want to comment and thank you for saying this was a blueprint, not a blueprint, but a work in progress. i appreciate that. i know you have talked about a range of internal issues. what concerns have you addressed regarding syria's role in the region regarding israel's concerned that this could be a safe haven for a.q. or the contention from iran that this is a domestic issue? syria has a lot to do in this region, and i would like to get your thoughts perhaps on what came up in your discussions. >> who would like that? >> well, these issues are mostly technical. you're talking about specific policy issues, and this of
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course, we will leave it up in the transitional government to devise its foreign policy, hopefully in consultation with the traditional democratic -- this is not our task. >> my name is -- a student at george and university, and my question is at the considered the idea of accountability causing members of the regime or individuals or groups associated with the regime to prolong power or to hold on to power for a longer period of time? at have you considered the idea of pardons for certain groups and weighed that against the benefits of ending the conflict earlier? >> this issue has been quite
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scented that, because some syrians feel they want to bring these people who have the responsible for bloodshed and corruption to be tried and be accountable. you also have the pragmatic political need that syrians have to face. we recommend, we try to create a kind of combination of conditional amnesty, and also vetting rather than eight complete baathification. that has been done in syria for at least hundreds of years trip there are mechanisms to deal with this, and more positively than we imagined only when we think about legal solutions. in reality what has been happening when we see this
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section emma -- when we see defections. it is an unspoken kind of discourse that is happening where people are encouraged to defect, and that brings them to the side of human rights, to the side of the people and the revolution. it would be -- the situation is sensitive to directly offered amnesty, given the incredible level of violations, but there are many who feel we need to do this in order to help undermine the regime and break through >> i am a student here in the u.s. and in the middle of revolution i started becoming afraid of what is going to happen in syria especially when the regime started but when i come and start listening to the
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initiative like what you're doing then the future looks more optimistic than i thought it would be. my question is when do you think the regime is going to fold? >> looking for my crystal ball. perhaps we should begin a betting pool among the audience. let's take that question a little bit more seriously. we are all familiar with the broad trends of the revolution. i think we've seen that during the period from may perhaps to august, september, the revolution experienced quite significant gaines. the capacity of the regime's command and control were significantly eroded. there seemed to be an accelerating rate of defection among officers. we find ourselves in october and it looks like the gaines that they gained during the summer
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months have slowed and even the reversal of some of those gaines. what does that tell us about the time horizon? we've talked about the transition beginning now. what does the general state of play tell us about the potential time ho iseson? >> i think the trajectory that you can expect and it's just my interpretation this is how i see the trajectly, i think particularly in terms of it's con fraints on it's manpower what you will garagely see is a retreat from the east to the west and from the north to the south. the two critical areas that the regime needs to be able to exert, to hold in order to maintain itself as a function
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of the regime are basically hosts because it guards the gait way to the core areas. it also guards a core corridor that takes you into lebanon as well that is an important supply route for the regime because it is the center of government. as long as they hold in damascus the regime can function and be in charge of syria as a government. once they lose damascus, if and when -- well, they will for sure. when they lose damascus, that's when the regime as a government, as the ability to say i now rule syria will fall, but that doesn't necessarily mean the end of the regime as an entity that is capable to exert influence on the ground. so there are two -- that's what
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i'm trying to say, there are two stages to the fall. there is going to be the fall of the government aspect ever spect of the regime then the dismantling of the regime itself which will take much longer. depending on what happens in the next few months, i would say maybe by next summer. don't quote me on this. >> i don't want to give a date but compare and contrast. we are now in the 19th month of the revolution. go back to a year ago where peaceful demonstraters were all alone and they were facing the snipers and tanks and so on. look at the situation today. the peaceful demonstrations continue but they are defended by tense of thousands of presyria army sold yes, sir who have defected from the regular
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armed forces. >> and joined by civilians too. we need to acknowledge that. >> there are over 13 general rals that have defected. a year ago we were constantly speculating whether damascus would be touched by this. well over 50% of aleppo today has been liberated. border posts with turkey and iraq have been lib railted. the regime is bombing the out posts of damascus every day. they are using mig 34 intercept tors to shoot at red lines. the regime has lost the top security national that has been decapitated not too long ago. the regime is in so much
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trouble that yesterday and before yesterday in the there have been fire fights demonstrations, shoot youts and we understand one of the cousins has been killed. this is to say nothing of the sister who has fled. so the family is in very serious trouble. compare this with a year ago and i think that would give us a glimpse into how long the trajectory is going to be. i am thinking it's not going to take that much longer. >> i wanted to reinforce the concept of the demonstrations, two weeks ago we recorded more than 540 tchansfrations around the country. that these people go out despite the violence is a testament to their desire to expedite the fall of the
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regime. but what you also see is that each pillar of support of the regime has been shaking. and they are shaking faster and faster and will collapse. so you see that in areas of the media where we have a significant number of media personalities who have defected and are speaking out. you see that in military sectors. you see that in the business sector. there is now a price tag on assad head for a bountty of $25 million. so all of these pill lars are shaking faster and faster. i don't think it's going to go to next summer. >> the point you raised about the sectarian issue. i think this was one of the cards the regime was relying on and that's why they created
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sectarian based masacres especially in the western side in ir i can't which is a vulnerable area where you actually have one village, one village. that is syria's existence over hundreds of thousands of years. what happened is the syrian regime tried to break these organic co-existing structures that really mark the region. and the amazing thing is the level of self-restraint the syrian people have shown. the syrian army had access to villages from other sects and they did not engage in sectarian violence. it has been limited. considering the level of
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brutality and the sectarian sentiments in the country they have shown tremendous unity. anybody would be touched to see the sloggans the people raced after a four-day campaign where close to 900 people were mass kerd. the sloggans they carried were that this revolution, we came out for human rights and dignity and this is not a revolution of revenge. if we do that, then we have become you. to see that after only a day of such awful mass kers shows you the spirit of the syrian people. so the regime has been relying heavily on that and it has not worked. >> just to follow up on this, right after the events were
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publicized, you saw a good 10 to 15 new facebook pages in support of the revolution. and for people to immediately react like that shows that yet another traditional pillar of support is basically gone. >> i flived damascus from last september until this past june so my question comes from my experience and my work. i wanted to draw on an earlier comment which was the question everyone has, who is going to be the leader? the great est problem in syria it seemed is lack of unity. so i have two questions. one is when i was in damascus one of the things that i would see is rallies of up to 100,000
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people who are rallying for assad. and there are still communities who strongly support assad and who are willing to continue this fight even after he falls which is inevitable. my first question is how has this report taken into consideration those concerns, the concerns of the people who are not necessarily prothe opposition yet? my second question is regarding the lack of unity within the opposition itself. there are lots of different opposition groups so my question is what efforts has this document made and your group made to organize those efforts so there can be a leader who can be carries mat i can like egypt and help move this revolution forward?
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thank you very much. >> i started off by saying we wanted the culture change. what is the alternative not who is the alternative. it's a natural reaction of syrians who have lab board for four decades under authoritarian dictatorship to think in those terms. and we had to get people to move away from the personality cult to something much more civilized. the -- in answer to your first question about the rallies. we also know damascus and lived there for many years and we know how these rallies are put together. i was an employee of the state and the way you go to the rally is in the morning you don't know there is going to be a
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rally. the squad shows up and they check your name as you file out. and i used to receive a letter of instruction saying you will make sure you take a roll call because everybody has to come back to work and anybody who doesn't come back i had to report them so they could be punished. and this was in the good days before the revolution. this was just to go out and cheer for a rally against anything. so we know how these things are put together. that isn't to say there are a significant number -- there was certainly at the beginning a significant number of people who were waivering or didn't know or who count see through and remember we're also concerned about the future. but as the regime has become more and more aggressive. as the battle has come closer to home, i had relatives who
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came to visit from damascus this summer and they will tell you a change in the mind set of people has happened where even if they don't have an alternative they want to see him go. they want this over. i'm talking about immediate family and friends. i think it's gone beyond that. i mean obviously there are those who are well vested in the regime and have a lot of interest. so i think that answers that side of it. >> there was as part of that question the problem of how you reassure communities who are are afraid of the future and what does the report say about that. and i think the response that our group took to this issue because it was understood as critical that the document did have the potential to play a role in providing a different
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conception of the future that might diminish the fears about what lay ahead. and the way that was addressed was by presenting very clear principles that should guide the emergence of a new syria. principles of pleuralism, tolerance, rejection of revenge, rejection of exclusion, rejection of collective punishment for the acts of individuals. a whole set of principles and guidelines and values that should communicate to constituents which remain uncertain that there are credible groups within the syrian opposition who are determined to rebuild syria along line that is will provide space for all itself components to participate. not that those who perpetrated
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crimes will be exempt from justice. not that victims will be denied the opportunity for justice, but that there will be values, principles, strategies that guide the construction of a new syria, that offer all components of syrian society hope for something better than they have now and it was precisely because this fear of change was seen as such an important barrier that those issues were so central in the document. >> addressing their fears basically. >> i want to speak to this as well because from our recent encounter with activists who came out of syria and some of them recently left. one of the reasons we responded to the document and they shared this with suss the document's power lies in itself ability to
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create a national discourse rather than a revolutionary discourse. because syrians are weary about this discourse that suffocated -- a discourse that would bin collusive of our national interest and creating a culture of citizenship rather than ideological loyal tiss. so syrians are determined to create an atmosphere and a discourse that would be inclusive to all syrians and not just those who are prothis or prothat. we are tired of that kind of menity. >> actually i will go back to the question of who is the alternative. the alternative is not an answer. it's a process. we have to go through the process of bringing a legitimate alternative. we have to go out and vote for the alternative and then we will know who is coming. i would be uncomfortable if i
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know who will become the alternative. but let me assure you of one thing at least after the up rising syria was open to accept the new leadership. right now we don't know. >> it is worth repeating that this document stresses the principal of the equality of all syrians regardless of sectarian affiliation. you're right there are opposition, but there is far more common ground than you might think which includes all of them, the establishment of a civil and democratic state in syria. so i think you are overplaying the divisions of the opposition
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and you are overplaying the support to the ejeem and i just want to repeat. civil certificate vants also have their salaries cut if they do not show to these demonstrations and you might know that school kids go down in buses to demonstrate. so the support of the regime is far, far less than you might think. >> let's move on. if there are questions from the web pass them up to me. >> i am an interested citizen and i want to commend you on the good work that you're doing. but i wanted to raise a question about what can we do now and in the near future to stop the killing and the death and the refugees and the displacement and the horrible
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situation. the question is can a cease fire be achieved knowing the brutality of the regime and the fact they may say one thing and do another on the ground? but i want to focus on what happens with some type of settlement. i heard you speak in washington about this process when he talked about his whole career but this question came up and he said they were trying to work out a cease fire plan that he had proposed where there would be a transition period. and over that transition period assad would in effect step down at some point, not right away, but as part of the process. and he said the russians would have supported this. he said other elementses of the regime would have gone along with this but he sthead the west insisted that assad step
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down first instead of having a process where it would be understood that he would step down. if they could come to an agreement, just think of the international pressure that would have been placed if tud whole security council to get the regime to do a cease fire even if they talked about it which is a critical issue. so i wanted to get you're opinions on that process and if you had any comment on it. >> there is a six point plan. the assad regime violated every point of the plan. the assad accepted to withdraw heavy military equipment from cities. that acceptens was more in the media than on the ground. the assad regime agreed to stopped shooting at unarmed citizens and that sounded well
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on cnn but on the ground there were snipe thears took out citizens. it never mentioned that assad would later consider stepping down. the problem to reaching the six point of political dialogue is all the previous five points have been violated and therefore the assad regime will tell you it will accept a cease fire. immediately i can tell you with confidence that the assad regime is lying through itself teeth. >> i think also it is a credible threat. we need a credible threat for him to commit to any plan. that's what i think is really wanted. we can not just suggest for him and hope he will follow that. we need to be credible. >> you said it is the west who
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insist that assad step down. i would like to tell you no, it is the syrian people who want assad to step down. the west is echoing what we wanted and it took them a long time to get to that point. it took heads of state and administrations several months after repeated calls from the syrian people that assad step down that that was picked up as well. >> i would say they insisted that it happened right away. >> first he goes, then we talk to the leftovers. >> i think one of the major weaknesses although syrians agreed to the importance of the six point plan and even in the presyrian army, actually if you remember, they agreed to the cease fire. but the syrian regime did not comply at all. even if they released some prisoners, in one case they
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released 100 prissners and during that week they arrested more than 2,000 people. but i think more important is the language he tried to about the conflict. he dealt with it as if it were a civil war conflict. it's remained quite peaceful for the first five months then because of the brualty getting armed in self-defense. so many syrians feel he failed in the language he used to describe the conflict as a popular revolution based on civil rights, based on human rights. and he was street treating it as a civil war and against each other and the government war being one of the infraction and that really frustrated syrians. let's end this question now. some of our colleagues would
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like to chime in with a couple more words. if you promise to be brief. >> i'll be brief. >> i just want to see when you talk about issues of negotiation and peace plans, you have to assume that the other party is civilized. when you have the other party using bombs to hit civilian areas, when you have snipers taking out children in bread lines, this is not a regem you can neglect a peace. this is a regime that has to go. >> i will simply direct you to an interview that the defected prime minister had two days ago in which he said that this was a first time made public that he had gone with the most senator leaders, the regional
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command to ask for a cease fire and for there to be a political dialogue. they said no way we will negotiate dialogue with the external opposition, know it is the security solution and a security solution alone. >> we have a number of questions from viewers online and following on twitter. >> what it was hash tag you mentioned and can you spell it sourialana >> two additional questions. one the fall of assad would provide a bubble of opportunity, but what force can or will be used to secure stability in the post assad period and i image that the
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implication is that some external force might be needed. are syrians prepared to accept this >> are syrians prepared to accept >> syrian public opinion is very divided. and so you do have many people who want an intervention immediately in order to stop the blood loss and you have those calling for nofully zones and you have people who don't want any intervention at all. so syrian public opinion is divided on this question. but i think they are all united that the bloodshed needs to stop immediately. we have an average of over 150 people civilians killed every day. and it is absolutely outrageous over the international community that 19 months on it continues to debate what to do
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and whatnot to do. >> and our final question from twitter, the day after project has hay strong focus on accountability. but would the project's supporters also support referrals to the international criminal court that might also imp kate the free syrian army? >> in fact in the document we recommend that subscribing to human right social securi not exclusive to one side. that if there have been violations by either side that we need to be accountability and many syrians agree with this. and in fact, in the recent past there have been outcries on the syrian army to subscribe to human rights, that some of them came out and made declarations that they subscribe to the geneva convention of prisoners.
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and so they had been actually an incredible debate between the public and the free syrian army in which there is so much pressure for accountedability, not just on the side of the regime but particularly on the free syrian army because that is the future of the country and where we're heading. >> just to add to that the in syria was to sign a code of conduct that is based on the geneva conventions and the international law. when there was s.s.a. infractions, many opposition groups on the ground immediately issued condemnations and the idea is we are seeking dignity, democracy and freedom so we have to be better than the regime. and yes we are saying people who commit atrocities will be
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held accountable. >> i would like to signal an issue that i foresee as introducing significant tension between the international that has to do with control and authority over the judicial processes through which the leading perpetrators on either side of this conflict will be held accountable for their actions. syrian participants in our project felt very strongly that any kind of process must remain under syrian control. there is an interest in international support. there is an interest in international funding, but there is a great deal of concern that the costs of cooperation with is that syrians will
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be compelled to can see on the death penalty as a potential outcome of a conviction. that raises very difficult issues for syrians, who had been subject to extraordinary brutality. the question of whether perpetrators will be held accountable either from the opposition or the regime raises one set of issues, but the frameworks in which there will be held accountable raises a different set of issues. it is one that i anticipate will require significant bargaining and negotiation and order to resolve once opportunity -- wants things have reached the point. we will turn to the audience of the last three questions that we have. >> hello.
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thank you for being here. the question is in regards to the local government that is happening in syria as they try to take certain parts back. once assad is finally toppled, how will the unification of syria be easier? >> with the emerging of these local councils, the have established our structures. they have committed to working in collaboration. we are securing agreements from these communities as they develop and empower themselves. it is a very positive outlook. the fact that they took the initiative and are getting international support, i think it indicates that they are moving toward that post-assad
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formula. >> can i add that there are a number of groups that are associated with administration councils. i would like to name one, which is a group of engineers. they went around the damaged areas and tried to put together in priority what needs to be done first and get some sense of the costs needed and start working on that. there is a lot of that work going on. >> thank you. >> hello. i am also good public law and international policy groups. my question goes to the crafting
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of the document. i am wondering if you could offer some additional insight about some of the issues that were debated most intensely as the document was coming together and taking form that might point to more contentious issues moving forward. if there are elements of the issues that are not entirely resolved or cannot make the final document, is anything that any of you wish that could have been included that did not make the version? >> i think each group had its own set of contentions. i remember the social economic part. it was not the contentions, but you could see that it was difficult for us to gauge how bad the situation was going to be when the fall of the regime
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occurred. is he going to be ground zero? while there still be institution still standing? >> will it be ground zero? will there still be institutions still standing? we sort of debated. i am sure it one of us had a different -- >> in our section, and some of us were believers in capital punishment. that created some debate. some would say, let's do that after executing assad. it shows the amount of frustration. that was one of the issues about punitive measures. it would probably become a perfect issue for international aid, for example.
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international support in certain conditions. with syria's be willing to deal with that? some of us mentioned earlier that international involvement. perhaps move the polarization given the tension around assad. there was this concern for keeping national sovereignty. in general, my impression is that one of the issues is a nationaly to syria's unity and how to ensure minority rights without institutionalizing secretary and as some. the syrians adamantly are not in favor of an iraqi situation. they're very cautious about bathat. there was a lot of attention of
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insuring minority rights and representation without institutionalizing that. those of us who spent many years ever met sensitive to minority issues and gender issues. that captures national syrian discourse. we want a country that can establish itself on the rule of law and citizenship, regardless elements.r anian >> and the securities sector reform, we had one major shouting match. there were some people who wanted to abolish a certain service altogether. it took quite a while to
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convince them that you need an apparatus that is a political. you need an apparatus inside to investigate the major crimes in side. -- inside. >> and economics, it was a matter of balancing the priorities. certainly, we had no disagreement over some of the social issues. in our group, the issue of the protection of minorities and more vulnerable communities was not a debate. we all agreed that we needed to do that. we did not have many shouting matches at all. they had more drama. >> we will take the final question. i will ask our panelists if the have any final comments they would like to make.
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i will make one very brief comment myself and then we will adjourn. >> hello. the title of today's event suggests the ability to see into the future. is his gift of prophecy based on the conviction that we will not give up until we have affected regime changes are are you party line?oeing the i think it would be extremely naive not to question of the activity given your interest. no offense, by the way. my sources of information give a different picture of syria. >> are we wrong? >> we have never claimed that we
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have a solution for the problem in syria. our efforts is to manage the crisis. we will keep trying to manage it and minimize the costs. that is our mission. that is what we are doing. >> to answer the first part of the question, yes, we will keep doing what we are doing until we are successful. >> "we" referring to the united states government? >> i cannot speak for the united states government. but we can look at the syrian arab situation both analytically and politically. you can see sectors across society stand up to the assad regime.
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this speaks more analytically for the eventual collapse. >> of that i would say is that the regime -- it is not a question of whether it will fall. it will fall for sure. the question is, what will the costs be? that is more perhaps what you should be asking and looking at. will it be at the costs of the entire country and reducing it back to the stone age? or will there be enough left for us to build? this project seeks to provide those who are trying to continue and rebuild syria with information and recommendation, along with many other people who are working in similar areas. it is a question of costs and not of "if."
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>> many syrians believe that the regime has already fallen. syrians are fighting for the international forces. iran is heavily involved, and so is hezbollah, russia, and china. the will of syria is being blocked by many international interest. it exposed a lot of the rule of law internationally. we do not live in a global community people being taken accountable. i understand the concerns with interest in justice. i am afraid that they lost their moral compass. they are seeing a society where women and children are being brutalized. there are concerns about
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globalization. they have turned a blind eye to the suffering of people. it is sad for me to see any individual and group and organization. they want to make a point against imperialism. >> thank you. >> my name is julia. i am syrian. i just finish my master's in international affairs. i find it difficult to picture what the future is for syria other than who will be replacing who.
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what is the future of syria? my concern is how to communicate your vision. i am glad to hear this discussion in d.c. speaking for my family and relatives, i do not think the people know what it is, basically. i think this is very important for the majority of people to know what it is. there is a lot of fear and hesitation to say that it is safe. it is important to emphasize what it is and to communicate, as bessie for the majority who do not have access to the internet's -- especially for the majority who do not have access to the internet.
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it is difficult to see what it is. >> thank you for that. >> a quick response to the important question. >> first of all, syria is ours. it will be as we want it to be. it takes a lot of hard work. we will work with everyone. we have the vision and the process. i have been in istanbul. we have done two workshops with syria and activists. we have this project to communicate with the syrian people. we discussed the syrian people the vision on how to move from a
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to b. >> thank you. any brief final observations before we wrap things up? >> i would say that our next step is to make this document and socialize it. engage with as many people. i would also add that we put together the people who were supposed to be engaged in making this document were selected primarily because they are very well connected with the syrian society or the opposition and are very qualified to carry out this process. that is where we are. >> one of the questions i keep getting everywhere and from student activists is that they
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love the document. what about the day before? or today? given some of the concerns that you raise and the real frustrations and the long costs syrianse have been paying, having participated in this project, i feel the we are global citizens. we are living in communities that are becoming increasingly more intertwined. our destinies are intertwined. it is not specific to a continent or country. if we do not create the rule of law at an international level, we will not be able to have justice. we will still deal with a great deal of anger and frustration and it will be expressed in the wrong channels and will lead to
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violence and frustration. it will lead to discourses that are not capable of articulating a human rights and basic economic needs. all of us have an responsibility to create the rule of law and accountability " believe -- accountability. i feel ashamed as a pursing having witnessed this. i saw the incredible massacre. i feel it fresh adding that we live on a planet where these things can be easily stopped, but there are many special interests that allow these atrocities. it has affected the millions of
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lives. >> to my syrian friends, it is normal for some people to fear after the status quo. what will happen next? it is quite natural. change is inevitable. at the syrian people have demanded change. despite the hardship, they are in their 19th month, determined to topple this regime in order for them to be free. syria is on the right side of history. >> when i hold up the signs and say, "we will remain here" it means syria belongs to the syrian people and not to go the assad family.
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this is a living document. we are receiving feedback. if people can give us feedback so that we can continue to look at the document, we are also on twitter. please follow us and look out for the hash tag. >> thank you. this debate will continue. we are planning to have an online forum to start this debate among syrian people and keep giving feedback. we have engaged in debates on line and on the ground. we need people working inside the country to make sure that we have the ground for
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implementation of this. also, you can communicate with us by e-mail and as info -- us info. >> thank you. i want to conclude our recession by making observations about two conceptions. first, it lacked a vision for the future. second, the syrian opposition was too fractured to develop a vision for the future. i hope that this session this morning has help communicate the very different impressions of this year in opposition and a different understanding of its capacity for collaboration and cooperation and for a commitment to the development of the division for the future of syria that i think hold up significant
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" for those who are uncertain about where syria in a post- assad is. i extend my thanks to my colleagues on stage and those of you joining us this morning on an interesting discussion on what will follow the fall of bashar al-assad. thank you. [applause] >> our "road to the white house" continues on c-span. president obama is campaigning in fairfax, virginia on the campus of george mason university. mitt romney is also in virginia in abingdon. both rallies begin tonight on c- span at 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> we need to tackle our
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nation's challenges before they tackle us. we need to save social security and medicare. we are putting ideas on the table. we want to make sure these promises are kept. >> they say we have endangered medicare and that we stole money an have done it to get obamacare. you have seen the advertisements. nothing could be further from the truth. >> next thursday night, congressman paul ryan and vice president joe biden will face off in their only debate. you can watch and engage with c- span with our live debate preview starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern, followed by the debate at 9:00 p.m. follow our live coverage on c- span, c-span radio, and online
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at c-span.org. >> as we look ahead to next thursday's debate, we will show you as presidential debates from our archives. at 8:40 p.m., the vice presidential debate between joe biden and sarah palin. that will be followed by a bush versus ferraro. and 1988 between quayle and bentsen. what all of that tamara night here on c-span -- watch all of on c-omorrow night here span.
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>> i was accused of being a bill listing, and lacking the ascetic ability to appreciate -- philistine, someone lacking the static ability to appreciate art. >> what made everyone so mad 20 years ago? >> i discovered something that i had absolutely could barely believe. when you question someone's taste in art, it is more personal and probing than politics, religion, sexual preference. that is something that goes to the very soul when you say, i "you bought that?"
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>> sunday at 8:00 p.m. on c- span's "q&a." >> katrina vanden heuvel joined us on "washington journal." this is 40 minutes. host: next up is katrina vanden heuvel, editor and publisher of "the nation." thank you for being with us this morning. we just got the new jobless number. the unemployment rate has dropped to 7.8%. what is your reaction to this for the country and politically? guest: for the country, any drop in those numbers is important.
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i think joblessness is the real crisis. i worry. i think president obama did save this country from the great depression. his advisers did not foresee the great dropped. -- structural economic changes drop. the programs were not as scale to deal with the jobless this we see today. i worry about -- this grand bargain of the elite. we have consigned this country to a new normal. which is joblessness at 7% or 8%. full employment is officially 5.5% and i think this country has the spirit and creativity and innovation to make sure that all americans have a good job and that to be our
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aspiration. politically, i think these numbers tell president obama. people are hardened into their corners. we are essentially looking at eight to nine swing states. i sometimes think not to be too cute about this. i would like to come back as a woman swing voter in iowa. --ohio. we're seeing that targeting of the 2%, 3%. i think these numbers will play a role. how big? it's hard to know. the hardening of this election is in place. host: the focus of the cover on your magazine and that is the next president possibility to
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make his selection for the supreme court. i'm wondering what your view is of the current makeup of the court and which direction it will go as the new term opens this week in light of the vote on health care. guest: your viewers can see that cover. it is pretty clearly stated. often the court is viewed through the prism through hot- button social issues like abortion, guns, criminal defense issues. this is very much about the election where we have four supreme court justices over the age of 70. the next president will have the opportunity to shape this court for a generation. we have a court which has in many ways savored -- favored the corporations, the very rich over ordinary people come in.
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-- ordinary people. the axis of workers to the court. shielding institutions from accountability. and of course, in the defining decision, citizens united was on president in unleashing the power of corporate money in enhancing the power of money, the very rich in our politics. the court is a player. the problem is that progressives have not understood the power of the courts as have the conservative movement, the right-wing movement. -- wal-mart versus duke's
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not giving them the time of day and leaving the president. one would have thought after bush v. gore that it would be laughable to hear the right wing jesses to say they are not -- in a democratic country you had a supreme court stopped the counting of votes on behalf of a man, later a president -- those justices had been appointed by his father. i think the justices play a very important role in this election. this is america's oldest continuing published weekly. we were around during the roosevelt era when roosevelt faced down a supreme court which was prepared to invalidate the great economic legislation of the new deal, trying to roll back child labor laws and other pieces of legislation.
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a switch in time saves nine. -- changed nine. justice roberts, a man who knows history, i believe i understood the legitimacy of the supreme court was in the balance. that was in the balance in the health-care. he found a clever way to finesse the decision. he undermined the commerce clause and it is more into a tax decision. the impact on medicaid -- it was good that president obama spoke about the dangers of undercutting medicaid. that is still something to watch. roberts saw myself as an --
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himself as an institution last and not a member of the gang of four. the medicaid decision is something to watch. host: this is a special segment for us. in addition to our callers and twitter community, we have students on board the c- span campaign 2012 bus making a tour through ohio. our bus is at miami university. oxford ohio. 10 students will be participating. thank to dr. howard and our thanks to time warner cable for getting us connected. john is our for student at miami university. he is a journalism and political
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major at the university. caller: good morning. what can president obama or governor romney due to work with the next congress? do think this will lead to a greater assertion of executive authority in the next term? guest: thank you, john. i did not know i would be facing the toughest questioners. students and journalism students. let me take your question. congressional approval is at an all-time low. it is up there with paris hilton and the communist party of russia. i think we need to step back and understand many people in this country see the political system as broken. others -- elizabeth warren -- have spoken house some money have seen the system rigged against them. -- so many americans see the
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system rigged against them. there is a few that those who dislike government for the past 40 years have a stake in diminishing the reputation of government, of congress. i would argue that we have seen a movement in these last 40 years to debase role of government. callback and read the book on lyndon johnson. the use or abuse of the filibuster has been used or abuse in the last 10 days or three years more than once in the 1960's 197's combined by the republicans. the president has an opportunity to come back if the republicans decide their first mission it can no longer be with
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senator jim demint. mitch mcconnell said the first priority was to make sure obama was it first term president. that would be out of the cards if he was re-elected. there was the possibility of working on different issues. if you have some good progressives reelected -- elizabeth warren -- you have a chance to find partnership on core issues. i'll name one. even something the chamber of commerce signed onto. this country could use an infrastructure bank that would put people back to work and rebuild the infrastructure. with mitt romney, you need somebody to, and that will --
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who comes in and that will understand that 47% of americans are not freeloaders but part of a political system and a country that deserves the respect. paul ryan has put forward a budget. another of them have fully -- neighther of them have fully explain how that would cut tax rates 20% across the board. what kind of loopholes would they find? that is a tough fight to have in a congress where there is a belief in a fair shot. host: next is a caller from iowa, larry. caller: hi. thank you for taking my call. i watch too often. i have a big problem with republicans. i feel they have not paid a political price for the damage
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that was done to this country. unemployment went down today. the numbers are good. there expressionism is part of the reason we have not seen growth in our economy and is where it is because the republicans. all they do is blame the president. host: thank you. guest: there is no question -- president obama had a jobs bill last year. as it at scale wit hh the problems we faced? no. but it was a jobs bill.
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the republicans had no use for it. it was put aside because they did not want to have the present have a success. they were not interested in creating jobs. do they have a jobs plan? there is no record that cutting tax creates jobs. the republicans have been a obstructionists, but i do think the democrats need to be bolder and put forward many more ideas about how to create jobs. in my mind the democratic party is a coalition of interest. the republican party i think will possibly expire because it has become so extremist. it risks extinction in a country going through such demographic shifts. it is primarily a white, older party to that. -- today. it doesn't understand how they
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will operate. they will throw as much money and do the vote suppression which about 11 courts have said we're not going to buy into the idea of bogus voter fraud to impair the greatest rights america has. which is to vote. host: we have 10 students on the bus. all the journalism students are double majors. a quick comment from you as an editor who hires journalists. what do think of students having a double major? guest: i think that is a great idea. many journalism schools are going through a crisis of identity. partly because of the changing nature of journalism. i have believe it is important to have a substantive journalism
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-- to bring to it and expertise. my husband is a political scientist at has taught soviet history for 30 years and was about to be hired by "the new york times." about 30 years ago. he understood about having an insight special knowledge of a certain area was great. i think our journalism should accommodate that. it is a much more european style of american. all power to the students on that bus. host: emily is up next. her combined major is journalism and anthropology. what is your question? caller: "the new york times" said the president lost the first debate. by not pressing mitt romney enough. what do thing the president needs to do? -- do you think the president
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needs to do? guest: i hope you're writing a column about how anthropologist watches that debate. that is a fascinating double major that you have. that was a missed opportunity at the debate. why isn't that we judge debates like a theater or foreman's? -- performance? on substance, the president in my mind won. the debate formats did not allow -- calling out mendacity. in the next debate, i think the president is to be more engaged, more passionate about what he cares about and what he has spoken to on the campaign trail, whether it is about fairness are the dangers of inequality, the importance of the middle class. i would welcome more talk about america's non-military
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engagement with the world and poverty. poverty is almost never mentioned and the rates of child poverty aren't unprecedented levels. -- are at unprecedented levels. i think it would be worth it was some discussion about that. president obama needs to be engaged and show he wants to be in that white house and take on romney when romney says, "my plan covers pre-existing conditions." no, it doesn't. i pushed romney to be detailed on this tax plans -- and push romney to be detailed on his tax plans. host: our next question comes from a caller from georgia, and independent. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i would like to speak about my frustration with people who allow their ideology to override the reality of the
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situation. i enjoy political conversations with different types of people. it is almost as if conservatives are in a different universe than i am when we tried to discuss politics. they are baked and harping on the debt and deficits -- they are big on harping on the debt and deficits. what we have this conversation, we begin on the same page. instead acknowledging the two wars we have not paid for, medicare part d, and that we have to come up with a way to pay for those, they switched and talking about entitlements. that bait and switch is fresh ready to me. -- frustrating to me.
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we're still at war. i like to hear about a plan to pay. instead of a plan to cut. host: we appreciate your call. guest: i'm not sure the people you're describing are most members of the republican party today by what one would call conservative. conservatives had a stake in truth, the enlightenment, rational thought. the current party has waged a war in science. climate denial is horrifying. it's war on reason. you cited former vice president dick cheney that deficits do not matter. karl rove said it that we create our own realities. you live in it.
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a romney pollsters said we will not be restricted by fact checkers. i refer to a post-truth world. the problem is the policy oriented. the party has been captured by people like grover norquist who is a ferocious anti-tax ideologue who has forced many members of the house and senate to abide by his pledge of no tax increases. where do you get the revenue to help build the country? when people talk about the deficit -- it is not the deficit or debt but joblessness which is the great crisis of our times. the deficit and debt did not arrive from some inaccurate conception. -- immaculate conception.
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two unfunded wars, medicare part d. let them speak to that. mitt romney has it fantastical approach to arithmetic. at the bottom of it, there is a commitment and an ideology to insuring that the top 1% make out real well. those most vulnerable at the bottom of the society who need a helping hand in times of fiscal economic crisis are put aside. it is ideological and i think the term "common-sense" is a terrific one to achieve and try to revive that one as you talk to c-span and agitate your committee. -- community. host: let's go back to the bus.
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john, what is your question? >> how mitt romney do this without appearing to be a flip- flop for? guest: he came out there. he became one of the most extremist candidates in his approach to key issues. i find most interesting thing going on is the growing gender gap. you are too young, but in 1992,
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many called it the year of a woman. it was a showdown reaching two women. there was a sense of men and where were the women's voices? there was an all male paddle for a case on contraception -- panel for a case on contraception. imagine that and that 20th- century, contraception would be raised as a polarizing issue. todd aiken talked about legitimate rape. i think those issues have led to the fact that independent women are alienated by this extremism. we are not talking about
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abortion, which i think is a right. we are talking about women's health issues, planned parenthood, contraception. his is related to women's economic security. independent women in swing states has been pushed away. virginia is a key swing states. obama was leading by 19%. in ohio, he is leading by women i consider able numbers. and in pennsylvania. that was a measure of obama's this engagement and mitt romney -- notnting to bring ap
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bringig it up. host: we have a republican caller. good morning. caller: good morning. maybe you need to listen to rush limbaugh and listen to what mitt romney said to the economy. in terms of poverty, the know that traditional marriage dropped by about 82%? you need to look act stop the conservatives are saying. they care about the poor. they do not want people trapped in poverty. they do now what people taxed more. if you tax small businesses, they will not hire.
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i do not know how you can figure out what mitt romney said so eloquently in the debate by talking about the 1% -- he wants the best for all folks. we want people married and taking care of their children and paying for taxes. guest: we will give katrina a chance to respond. guest: married will provoke the well-being of a couple of children. it is great. it is not just that. it is part of the equation. without good jobs, without insuring that workers have a rights at a time when big
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business is so powerful, without doing small things that have happened around this country and has taken too much effort, women, families, without early child care, without a set of the kind of community coming together to lift up families, marriage is not sufficient. i think to reduce it to that is too simplistic. no one is saying that marriage is not important, but it is not only factor in building a healthy family that is doing well. the fact that our jobs today is a terrible problem. i would link it to the poverty issue. we have a terrific weekly issue called "this week in poverty." you read about the lives of people who are struggling. some are struggling in small businesses and their been paid
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in minimum-wage. it is where it was in 1968. the fact you have children growing up in poverty shows that this country is not offering a well-paid jobs right now. that requires all of us to work together to understand why tax are not going to do it. when is the last time that a tax cut helped to build a bridge or created a job? it can help, but it is not sufficient. the big businesses in this country are sitting on a two trillion dollars. they are not spending that money to hire. i think the argument that many of them use a certainty -- they
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should be patriotic about investing in jobs to let everyone up. i am not saying that there is this view that if you speak about corporate power, the 1%, we should be a country of 100%, but we are not there yet. business has become untethered from the communities. it is the kind of business in which it's a commitment is to profit and shareholders. there are different kinds of ways of doing business. there are different kinds of capitalism. capitalism is simply the allocation of capital. why cannot have a capitalism
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that does not offshore jobs, but invest in workers and communities? host: our next question comes from a student. she is a political science and journalism major at miami university. she is a senior. you are on now. >> a good morning. many political pundits have claims that romney has avoided talking about specifics. i agree. why do you believe he has avoided telling the nation as specifics? guest: thank you for your question. i believe there has been a duck and cover campaign. the main reason i have to tell you is because people learned about the nature of the tax
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plan. they would not support it or recoil. the majority of americans support medicare and social security and progressive taxation. what does that mean? and having the richest pay their fair share. that is -- there is an awareness that is not popular with the american voters. there is a lot of smoothing and softening and duck and coer in order -- cover in order to sell something that is not on the table. host: we have a democrat caller on the line. caller: good morning. we remember when obama came into
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office. i am shocked at how the media has given the republicans a pass. when bush came into office, $5.1 on had left him million surplus. he gave it to his billionaire buddy is. in 2003, bush save the republican job creators 3.5 trillion dollars for jobs. that is a whole year president obama, then senator obama -- guest: your command of the numbers is terrific. the question of media is linked to strong voices.
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there is a mainstream established medium. there is this idea of of the corporate balance. something that has been written about. the earthne said that was flat, the media would report bold sides as equally relevant and true instead of calling out the flat earth person and say, wait a minute. we see a lot of false equivalentce. i recommend this to you. he is no liberal progressive. he is more center.
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there was a book about congress and the breakdown of the governments. there is an important section on the affairs of the media to call out the false truths when they see it. they fact checked obama on the $5 trillion the opposite. it was much more serious. you also need voices outside and inside and citizens of cautions to call out the issues. much of the media has treated this like a horse race. we get more substance from time to time.
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look again at the debate as i mentioned earlier. it seems like a theater performance than actually grappling with the subject. 92% has more to do with how this n.j. -- descended was. for a country that prides itself in being a democracy. >> we're almost out of time. i'm going to try to get two students in. first, olivia, 8 junior political science major. go ahead. caller: my question has to do with the rhetoric involving the war on women and a recent article you wrote in reference. is it fair to classify women as one of voting bloc?
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guest: i do not think any group in our society is a monolithic society. i do think we have seen a concerted assault on rights. i'm not just talking about reproductive rights but on economic rights. if you think about, for example, can it romney's on president obama and how he contributed to win an's job losses -- candidate romney on president obama and how he contributed to women's job losses. it is a term that has often been demonized by governors, like governor scott walker of wisconsin.
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you see independent women, as i said before the you see a growing block of women, not as progressive democrat who do worry about how their daughter may not have access to planned parenthood. that is really about women's health, mammograms, and other health issues. not just these hot-button issues of reproductive choices. i think the independent women voters will make the difference in seeing a party that is not hospitable to women's health rights and linked to that, as i said, in order to control your economic destiny. host: the last didn't from miami, a senior political science member -- major.
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caller: i guess i will and where we began on that article about the 1%. i wanted to rescue -- ask you how judicial nominations have gone by the wayside and why it is not look that by only four presidential candidates but also senatorial candidates. host: -- guest: president obama has not been as in days with putting forward judges. by the way, the supreme court today may be years 2% of cases in this country. the docket is shrinking. the circuit courts become increasingly important. you see the impact of obama not having pushed through as many as president bush did. i think the courts are some important, as i mentioned. i think it should be discussed
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in this campaign. i hope in the next debate. presidents are not just individuals. they come with a set of advisers. romney's key judicial advisor, some and you may remember, who in 1987 was rejected by the senate for being way out of the mainstream in this country said only the equal protection clause applied to women. he believes corporations are people. some of his best friends are corporations. he played a very destruction -- disruptive role in the fairness of equality and opportunity. those are not left-right issues. i then we need to take a hard look at this political intensity gap i mentioned were the right does understand the court and its powers but the progress of liberal democratic community has
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stepped back and not engaged with that process, the judicial process, or the courts as effectively as they could. host: there are a few more students on the bus to did not have an opportunity to ask their questions today. if they directly tweet you a question, will you respond? guest: yes and i apologize in advance for my lengthy answers. @katrinantion. host: per the conversation and get your questions answered. thank you again to time warner for having students on the bus and for the repressors organizing their thoughts. thank you for being with us. guest: go to thenation.com and
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learn about our internship program. the head of the labor party in england as a former nation intern, milliband. we have a lot of journalists. >> can it's reacting today to the drop in the unemployment rate. -- the candidates are reacting today to the drop in the unemployment rate. that starts are evening at 8:00 p.m. eastern. governor romney also in virginia at his campaign at the caterpillar construction dealer. tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern. 10 days away until the second of three presidential debates at hofstra university. it will be a town hall format. the final debate is at bogor raton, fla., focusing on foreign policy. complete covered on c-span, c- span radio, and c-span.org.
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>> we need to tackle our nation's challenges challenge us. we are putting the ideas on the table on how to do that. we're not going to try to scare seniors. >> they have clearly laid out by saying obama and biden have stole money from medicare to get obamacare. you see the ads and you see this in everything they say. nothing could be further from the truth. >> october 11th, congressman paul ryan and vice president joe biden will face off in their only debate. moderating from danville, ky. you can see our live debate preview starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern fallen by the debate at
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9:00 p.m. your questions, calls, and tweets. follow on c-span, c-span radio, or online at c-span.org. >> along with watching the debates live, you can see complete coverage of our behind- the-scenes lives streams of the sights and sounds. you can see individual questions all sorted by topic. c-span.org/debates. on thursday, charlie cook, editor of the cook political report, called the debate a game changer for romney speaking at an event hosted by the national journal including pollsters. this is one hour, 15 minutes.
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>> good morning, everybody. if i could invite you to take your seats. we're going to go ahead and get started. thank you all for joining us here on this rather cumin thursday. thank you to everyone joining us on the lives dream -- live stream on nationaljournal.com and on c-span2. my name is victoria. i'm a senior vice president and it's a pleasure to welcome you to this wonderful discussion this morning. before we get started, just a few items to give you a sense of what is coming. charlie will be here in a moment and he will give us his take on last night's debate.
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he will be joined by two guests after who will also offer their perspectives on the debate and the upcoming elections. we are grateful to all of our participants this morning who will take questions so think about what you would like to ask. we will be having microphones go around and you can ask questions. we invite you to join the conversation the of twitter. #njcharliecook. so we can have an uninterrupted discussion, if you could silence your cell phone that would help us immensely. we are able to gather this morning thanks to the generosity of united technologies, utc. it's a very diversified company comprised of several well-known plans -- brands. utc climate controls and
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security and the utc aerospace including goodrich. they have been a wonderful partner. this is our final charlie cook given this year. the partner with us on the congressional poll that we do of congress is in session to bring that news and information here. as readers, you can be informed via utc and the polling as well. thank you to the entire team at utc for partnering with us not only on the charlie cook events but on the congressional poll. he is the senior vice president of global relations meaning he leads all of the government affairs activities for utc as well as all activities in that area. he is well known in washington. please welcome greg ward. [applause]
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>> thank you, victoria. thank you for that introduction. charlie just wanted to know what she was smoking to have such a nice introduction for me. it's nice to have an overflow crowd. something must have happened last night. must be the nats coming in first place. what's with that? going to be a great session this morning. we have had a long affiliation with "national journal" and charlie. it's always a great event to participate in with an exciting morning after the debate. and look like we may have a presidential race here with 33 days ago. i'm the going to hand it right back over to you, victoria. thank you all for being here. [applause] >> i think all of you know charlie cook and that's why you
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are here. for 13 years, he has been providing his insight and analysis in our daily publication. they put together some of the best political reports and analysis in town and they are red and value by both sides of the political aisle. at a time when news and information has become so polarized he remains one of the most respected analysts to everyone in the country and and often humorous take the has become -- been called the best political handicapper. many of us think he walks on water. please welcome charlie cook. [applause] >> of i could walk on water, it must be pretty thick. thank you all for coming.
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if i am one of the most respected -- that's a lobar in this town. [laughter] thank you very much. greg and i have been friends for something over 25 years, probably closer to 30. this relationship with united technologies has been great. new guys are in prince william county, prince george's county, look at this. i want to get to glen and fred because they are two of the very best pollsters in the business. they are the nordstrom's of their respective sides of the aisle. there are very large and enormously high quality, well regarded.
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just a quick reaction to what happened last night. unfortunately, i had to do a column that i had to hand in yesterday morning before the debate. it's not coming out until friday. i just got an e-mail from my editor who was suggesting we tweaking a little bit now after yesterday. i'm not sure what they will end up doing with it. the point i tried to make is that everyone tries to make everything by neary. it's either too close to call or it's over. there is no in-between. this really is an in-between situation where clearly president obama was ahead and there was something where the swing states that were more durable in the national numbers.
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governor romney desperately needed to shake this race of. something had to change the trajectory in the selection. it needed to be something very substantial. here we are now with this momentous event in the realm of debate. this is certainly much more decisive than any other debate we can remember. i'd think he did a fabulous job on a relative basis, comparing romney with the performances that we usually see. on a nominal basis, by any standard, he did very well. to say that true president obama is a superior or a tour. -- orator but i think romney is
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a better debator. we saw something we have not been seeing in a long time and it occurred to me that this reminded me more of the romney i met in 1994 when he was running for senate and came by and met with me and was just incredibly impressive, and a local, pragmatic. this person has been pretending to be an ideologue for the last few years. obama seemed to be like a team sitting in the league. i would not have said "smug," but someone who did not seem to be terribly hungry for it. i do not think there's any question when you look at these
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instant polls. i don't care for them. the cnn opinion research corp. -- who did the best job? obama 25 and romney 67? who did better than expected? obama 21% and worse than expected 61%. 82% said ronny did better than expected. 10% said they thought he did worse. my guess is that 10% were partisan. obviously a democratic polling firm. romney has no evidence of changing the game. i agree on the first that romney had a good night. i did not know if it changed the
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game. wal-mart sponsors their focus groups with momentum analysis, a democratic polling firm, and one of his partners at democratic strategies. together they suggest that it was a win for romney. they were debated between a win for romney and a tie. on the other hand, they said they were disappointed with the president's performance and it cannot believe he made the case for how another four years would be different or better. making the point that neither one of these guys really connected with voters on a personal level but clearly romney did a superior job of debating it. there's no question romney won the debate. the question is how much does
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that change things? in terms of national polls, there's no question he will get a few points out of this. the harder and more relative points is, number one, does the move ohio? does he moved the swing voters in these swing states? that's what's really relevant here. i have no idea. in my view, you show me an undecided voter in a swing state, say, ohio, and they have been bombarded by ads since june. the undecideds there were a lot smaller than nationally, four or five points. i had concluded that if you are in ohio and you are still undecided, you may never decide. you're probably not going to vote.
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there may be something wrong with you anyway. [laughter] i'm not being dismissive that this is not or cannot change, but the thing about it is we should be careful imposing as people everybody in this room more everybody watching this on c-span or voice of america, there will be really attentive people. we probably just need to be a little careful about how some pretty passive people who do not like politics, do not like politicians, very cynical, skeptical, sour, whether their reaction will be just the same as ours. this is a consequential event. without any hesitation at all, had this on the other way, had romney not done well, thiwould have been game, set, match.
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republicans were starting to get really nervous and i think you were on the verge of seeing a lot of money getting recast over for republicans hanging on to the house. not only did romney escape that, but he escaped a strong one and the president was clearly flat. the question of how much does this move in ohio, in virginia, in florida, in these swing states. you're going to hear from two of the smartest people in the business. we could talk about it.
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we could discuss this. look at the polls. start looking at the polls on sunday, monday, tuesday when you get full samples in all after the debate after people have had the conversations in the supermarket aisles. clearly this is a game changing event, but how much does it change? swing states are what matters. i think we're going to have a lot of fun. just in 100 words or less, i do not think even yesterday before the debate, in our view, the house was not in play. democrats now going to get somewhere between a 25 seat net gain to take control in the
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house and it would be somewhere between a washer and picking up 10 seats. there is no evidence whatsoever that this was heading towards 15, 20, 25 seats particularly minute figure in the democrats. they probably had to gross that. it did not look that bad. it sure as hell does not look like that now in the aftermath of that debate. i will make one prediction on the senate. i think there is a very, very fair chance that around noon on wednesday, the day after the election, we may not know who will be in the majority of the senate. we're looking at about 10 tossup races in a lot of these one or two point races.
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one of my colleagues at the cook political report pointed out that with this class of senate seats that were last up in 2006 we had three states, montana, missouri, va., 4.8 million people voted total in those three states and the majority status of the month said it was decided by 66,600 votes out of 4.8 million. it was just sort of hanging by a thread. that's how close it was. frankly, i think there are five, six, seven races that could be decided by -- pick a number. controlling not only the senate, but a several-seat margin. there is an enormous amount of volatility in the senate picture.
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we will see how it plays out. glen and fred, why don't you join me? we are going to have fun. i will ask them a handful of questions and then we will open up to the audience and let you guys ask questions and have a great morning. wow. bolger, you are on my left. that is awesome, to have a republican on my left. thank you for joining us. we know you are incredibly busy. how many races are you working on right now? >> one at a time. [laughter]
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>> give us a ballpark. >> 15 to 20. >> you are set up a little differently. >> a lot. >> these guys are seeing an enormous amount of data every week. let's not put fred on the spot. it was not a good night. quickly, what was your reaction to last night and what it means? >> first of all, as a yankees fan, a nats fan, and a romney fan, it was a pretty good night. thank you for having fred and i. these are always fun to do. i am a huge fan of your jet engines, utc, particularly when they work. i am still here, so that is a great sign. the tw factors from last night, how much did mitt romney raise his image?
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we have seen a number of polls showing 2 to 3 points. mitt romney came across as somebody who was more genuine that they it -- than they had realized. this guy could step into the oval office and have no problems doing it. i am not sure that any other republican running in the primaries would have been able to pull that off last night. and i am being generous. [laughter] what i wonder is, we do our dialing between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. on the west coast, how do you
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do a national poll tax everybody is going to bed -- on the east coast, how do you do a national poll? everybody is going to bed. among undecideds -- look, the first decision they make is, do i want to vote for barack obama? he is the incumbent, the guy in charge for the last four years. if they are undecided, the answer has been no. there is something they are concerned about with mitt romney, which is why they are undecided. in 10 states, two weeks ago, there were 6% of the voters undecided. that is a pretty significant amount.
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it sounds like a small number, but a pretty significant amount. did that 6% look at romney last night and say, this is somebody i feel a lot better about than i did coming into this debate. some were not paying attention and some were. for those who were not -- who were paying attention, the answer has to be yes. i think you will see a bump in the polls for romney. 67% believed that romney won the debate. that is a stunning number. usually, our side thinks our guy one and their side thinks there got one. -- thinks their guy won. it was pretty decisive. >> explain to a group of people -- i doubt there is an undecided voter in this room. what do undecided voters look like? who are they? >> the kind of people who tell
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the waiter to come back at a restaurant because they have not made up their mind. [laughter] when you look at undecided voters, they generally tend to be younger women than anything else. in this case, i am seeing an even division between men and women. they tend to be more independent. they are either somewhat conservative to moderate. only 18% of the undecided voters in the swing states say the country is going in the right direction. 70% say it is on the wrong track. that is much more negative than the country as a whole. that is why i believe romney is poised to pick up some of them. >> anybody who thinks the next
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debate will be the same as this one, i think they are making a mistake. of what is going to say, let's throw that playbook out and try something different. -- obama is going to say, let's throw that playbook out and try something different. >> the debate was over and i thought, romney did pretty good. obama seemed pretty flat. watching the post-debate and some this morning, the romney performance went from here to here in the analysis. as someone who, if you want to or not, pushed back a little bit -- push back a little bit but keep in mind x. tell us how well the president did. >> or try to avoid it. >> first, i would like to thank charlie and the "national
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journal" for this event. i think both glen and i would agree, charlie is someone that both of us can trust because he plays it right down the line. >> i am also thin and handsome. >> i have to deal with the reality. [laughter] i like what glenn said. -- what glen said. the issue for governor romney was likability. i do not think he has -- i do
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not think he has had a lot of time to show likability. what he did last night was a single-minded focus on what his strength is and what the concern of the country is. i think he did his job. for all of us in this room who are probably not undecided, i think the campaign kickoff, i do not know, 2009. for a lot of us who are consumers of news and followers of politics, the convention's probably start it. this is the campaign. for the undecided voters in ohio and other places, and i know it is weird to state with all of the ads they are watching. let me back it up.
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there are a lot of ads that are playing. it does not mean everybody is watching them all of the time. for the average person, i think the campaign started last night. we have a long time left to go still. what mitt romney -- mitt romney did what he had to do. he made this a much more competitive general election. i think president obama, i do not think he did as badly as the pundits are saying this morning. i think, the next debate, he will probably have a different demeanor. the debate last night was much more important to mitt romney than barack obama. i do not know how much this changes the landscape.
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this race is very competitive. if you look at the eight battleground states, depending on the polls, president obama is winning all of them, but the margins are pretty close. what the debates could do for democrats and the president and also the voters it signals the game is on. i think you will see much more enthusiasm. people talk about research and p.o.s. does the polling for one sub-group, latinos -- >> so you're the conspirators on the left wing of the polling. >> barack obama is ahead by 50 points with latinos. the question is, their enthusiasm was less than 2008. that is another aspect. >> my thinking had been, while it was mathematically possible for romney to get the electoral votes without ohio, michigan, pennsylvania, that was like a three or four-cushion shot in pool. is ohio what we should be looking at more than anything
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else? >> that is a good question. it is much easier for mitt romney to win the presidency if he wins ohio. i entered this election cycle believing that there were three key states instead of just florida and ohio. i would add virginia to that list. the next half level down is north carolina. clearly, governor romney is stronger in florida and virginia. those are very competitive states right now. all i know is someplace where he does need a significant comeback.
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fred's points are well-taken. for a lot of voters, the election started last night. if he is going to have a comeback in ohio, it started last night. >> president obama won last time, beating senator mccain by seven points. part of it was 66% of the vote among 18-29-year-old, a large percentage of latino voters, african-americans were like 95% to 4% or something like that. the african-american support is very strong. let's assume parity for this time. as you suggested, the turnout levels among latino voters and, i would add, young voters, is very much questionable. when i go on campuses, i cannot find a pulse.
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there might be a couple of people behind the table to register people and nobody in front of the table, registering. there is no pulse there. is it safe to say that a seven- point margin becomes six or five or four, ticking turnout down among these two groups. by necessity, this will be a lot closer. >> in 2008, the president had a seven-point margin. a seven-point margin for a democrat is big. that is a historic margin. all of us expected this to be a closer race. the thing that we should look for, with early voting, we have metrics.
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one of the things about campaigns, on every side, north carolina, half of the voters will have voted before election day. you can track that every day. who they are and, more importantly, how they voted. in campaigns, from presidential down to city council, every aspect matters. field, message, turnout, tv. the air wars get coverage because they are on tv but the ground wars are just as important. in a poll that our two firms collaborated on, the president was winning among independent voters by 13 points. in 2008, he defeated john mccain by 8% of independents.
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let's see where polls settle. i will be looking at the independent numbers. the other thing about barack obama's election, he won 43% of the white vote. in most of the national polls, that is where he is. look, the country is changing. in 2008, three-quarters of the electorate was white, down from the mid to high-80's. that number is going to change. in a close election -- i do not think anybody thought it would be a seven-point race. the metrics are there for him to win. >> to me, the most stunning numbers from 2008 -- if you take out 18-29-year-old and look
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just at 30 plus, mccain and obama tied. that shows you how important the youth vote is to the president. that is why you see air force one showing up near -- at airports near major universities. they recognize that fact. john mccain beat barack obama 55-43 among white voters. george w. bush, in 2000, beat al gore among white voters 55- 43. the margin was the same. how did gore and bush is essentially tied? you might not know this, but bush won the election. [laughter] in the electoral college, a cool thing that is in the
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constitution. eight years later, what was essentially a popular vote tie becomes 87-point below. fred talks about how hard it is for a democrat to win a seven- point margin. republicans cannot. it is impossible. if mitt romney wins the popular vote, it will be by .02, if at all. the party has to figure out how to do much better with minority voters. african-americans, it will be hard for us to get their vote for a while because the president is black. republicans have to do significantly better than we are doing right now. in the future, we have to do
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significantly better with latino voters. >> the republican political model is not sustainable, the current one. it has to change. one technical question -- when i look at various polls, and a lot of times the top numbers look very reasonable and consistent, and when you start looking at splits, it starts getting more erratic. i see more independent numbers all over the map. it seems to vary enormously. is it how they were the party id question, the position in question? i have seen polls that have had romney ahead by four or six points, which is obviously not what the wall street journal
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poll had. is there any reason other than when you start tightening it up, the margin of error goes up? >> there should not be that much variation. when you were asking that question, i was thinking one of the explanations could be a couple of days' difference. unlike democrats or republicans, they do not have roots. i am a democrat. i pretty much know how i am going to vote. >> mt "national journal" colleague went through a lot of research and points to non- college educated white women as a group that has moved some in the last couple of weeks. non-college educated white men are a no-fly zone for the president. but the women were up for grabs. have you noticed anything like that?
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is that a metric you are looking at? >> it is. everybody talks about the women's vote. there are a number of factors. people do not realize this -- john mccain won white women by seven points. that is not enough to win overall. obviously, he lost by seven points. when you look at white women voters, there are groups that are more likely to vote republican. those include white women without college degrees, white women who are married, and women with children. when you look at the differences between white women who are married and white women who are single, whether it be they are not married, they are widowed, or they are divorced, those groups vote overwhelmingly
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for obama. if ron is right and the president is making gains with non-college educated white women, that is problematic for our side. i have not seen as much as -- as much of a shift as he has. >> let's open it up. >> everyone says -- >> are we doing mics? >> people say that the vp choice does not matter, but they are next up. given what happened last night, is it important, the debate? is it going to mean that people are going to, based on what happened last night, say, yes, i am going to for sure before romney? -- for sure be for romney? does it have that kind of
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impact? >> toomey, this is going to be a close race. -- to me, this is going to be a close race. in close races, everything matters more. i think it will. historically, vice presidential debates do not matter a lot. somebody last night was making the point that bentsen destroyed dan quayle. it did not make a difference, but he destroyed him. i do not know. do one of you want to take a swing at it? >> there are two presidential debates after that one. i think it will be more watched by folks like us, who are interested in politics. the overall electorate will pay attention more to the presidential. i am not downplaying the importance of the vice-
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presidential, anything can make a difference. but it would be surprising. >> it is like the olympics, when they had the basketball games for the bronze medal. everyone is waiting for the champion of the gold medal game. but it is the only debate next week. it will drive some of the coverage. it will either continue the momentum that romney has after last night or it will be seen, if vice-president biden does well, it will be seen as the first step for the obama team to get its footing back. in the world we live in now, where everything is analyzed instantaneously, even before it happens, i think it is a meaningful event next week. >> it is important until the next presidential debate and
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then it becomes fairly irrelevant. >> it is important until it is over. >> they should have a disclaimer -- this debate is for entertainment purposes only. >> chicago is saying, thank god we have biden to pick us up after last night. [laughter] >> if first impressions are the most important and if the average american really tuned in for the first time, would that suggest that the next two presidential debates are less important? what is your opinion on how much the second and third presidential debates can matter? >> i think they are still very significant.
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it seems like ancient history now, but reagan's first debate against mondale did not go well and he turned it around in the second debate. what everybody wanted to happen, in terms of the voters, they wanted to reelect reagan because things were going well. they breathed a sigh of relief and nobody remembers much from the first debate. i think it would be premature to say that it is one and done after last night. >> i agree. the next two will be very important also. >> we should also mention, glen's firm, a partner is governor romney's pollster. fred's firm is doing the primary super pac on the democratic side. everybody has dogs in the fight.
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i have been very, very, very critical of the romney campaign, the part that glen's partner has not been at fault in. other aspects have been critical and i think there are things that need to happen, romney needed to connect on a personal level and it may have happened last night. part of this may be getting some task completed that probably should have happened in june, july, august, or at the convention. he made up for some lost ground here. i think the next two debates, or if it is a really close race, it is now going to be a really, really close race. on the very back row, up against the window. >> one demographic that i do
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not think has come up this morning is senior citizens 65 and older. could you talk about how you are seeing polls of that demographic change to the extent that the election of paul ryan and his liabilities on medicare is becoming a problem for the romney campaign and perhaps in some of the senate races. >> who would like to go first? >> in 2008, if we look at the exit polls, president obama lost seniors by 8 points. in 2010 midterm elections, when the exit polls aggregated, democrats lost seniors by 20, which was one reason why 2010 happened, which i would like to forget. looking to our nbc-wall street
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journal poll, the president was trailing the seniors by close to the 2008 margins, nine points. i think paul ryan is a very smart person. clearly, the romney team must feel he is qualified to be vice-president of the united states. as a democratic analyst, to us, it re-ignited the whole medicare issue. we had spent a lot of time talking about the ryan plan. sometimes, we would talk about the ryan plan without saying "the ryan plan" because people did not know who paul ryan was. now they do. we have done polling and seen is an effective message for democrats against republicans,
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to talk about the ryan plan. >> let me push back a little here. >> go right ahead. [laughter] >> a day or two before governor romney made his decision about his running mate, i was talking to another pollster. runs the democracy corps. they have been trying to use the ryan plan to beat republican members of congress over the head. like you said, nobody knew who paul ryan was. as we were getting off the phone, i said, i will give you this. i do not think governor romney
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is going to pick paul ryan. but if he does, we will have another conversation. it strikes me that democrats have not effectively made medicare and the rhine plan -- the ryan plan, i have seen the polling and how it moves people. i have not seen them in flicked -- inflict a lot of bodily damage on republicans on the ryan plan, on medicare, so far. am i missing something? has it had a meaningful effect or not? >> the quick answer would be, we will find out in 33 days. >> apparently, we are going to find out in 33 days. [laughter] the first observation i make is that there is this presumption in the press, boy, paul ryan,
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what a risky mistake he was. test polls show that paul ryan generally has a better image than joe biden. if joe biden is the answer, i do not want to know what the question is. secondly, senior citizens -- republicans have to -- we have had decades of dealing with democratic demagoguery on issues like social security, medicare, or both. the first page in democratic campaign plans is minority turnout. the first page in republicans' is, how do we make sure we do not get hurt among senior citizens? this is something our campaigns are very aware of. we have had messages that we have tested. yes, it is effective. you test a democratic attack
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versus a republican response, and it basically plays to a tie. i do not think it will be the game-changer that democrats think that it is. the one thing to keep an eye on are the near-seniors. seniors are already getting medicare, social security. they know that the rug is not going to be pulled out from under them because there would be a huge price to pay. the near-seniors are more concerned, more moving around in our polling. that is a group that we are targeting as well. >> as a near-senior, let me pick phil. >> could you discussed
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>> could you discussed the impact of motor suppression efforts on election results versus polling results? we have seen an increase, in the last few years, in voter suppression efforts, such as the recent conviction in maryland. this year, we have seen the requiring of photo ids and such. how do you account from that in polling, especially given that there are about 10 lawsuits pending that could negate some of the new laws that are intended to require photo ids for voters? >> first observation is, in terms of the case in maryland, that was one misguided example. never should have happened. the race was not that close. it was a huge mistake by that individual and he paid for it with a time in prison.
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in terms of your concerns about voter i.d., and having to show id, i live in virginia and just got my voter card. they allow any kind of thing, a utility bill, or anything like that. it is a lot easier to vote then to get on an airplane. if you are worried about fraud, i think that these are reasonable requirements. >> in terms of polling, to the extent that both firms can, we try to pull a registered voter list. registered voters who have presumably -- i mean, we try to sample who have not only registered -- people who have not only registered but voted in the last election. >> in a lot of states, they have to have a photo id. how do you account for that?
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>> our callers asked you to show them your folder id -- your photo i.d. over the phone. [laughter] >> not a lot that you can do. some places, they have been thrown out or put aside for this election. for me, i have no problem requiring an id as long as, number one, the government makes a proactive efforts to go to people who are qualified and registered to vote but do not have ids -- i wonder, for example, in some states, why does an expired driver's license not work? i'll say this for tsa, too. did your identity change?
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you are 93 years old. your driver license expired four years ago. what is the problem there? and that it is kosher. in other words, a concealed carry permit in texas is allowed. why it is a university of texas student i.d. not counted? it is also issued by the state of texas. above and beyond that, i do not think it is particularly onerous. most people in society, unless they are in homes, institutionalize settings, they do have ids. the government can do things to help those people get ideas. that should be part of the deal. let's go back to the center.
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>> i was wondering if you could comment on the format for the three debates and how you see that connecting with the two candidates. >> we are speechless. first of all, i thought the debate last night -- i was stunned at how the moderator let himself get walked over by the candidates in terms of the timing. it was like the two minutes did not matter. when i am about to die, i want barack obama's 5 seconds, because they lasted forever. [laughter] on the other hand, i thought it was pretty good. people are like, there is so much policy in this debate. these two people showed that they are both very smart people and they both could be president. one by virtue of being
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president and the other by virtue of their showing last night. i thought it worked out really well in terms of the back and forth. i don't know if there are differences of format in the next two. i haven't looked that far ahead. it was more of a debate than a dinner talk or something. >> i agree. as a political fall or, like all of you are, -- a political follower, like all of you are, i liked the elasticity. sometimes, in tooo many -- in too many debates -- just let them talk. i do not think it affected the performance of either candidate. it was what it was. i thought it was neat that they were talking a lot. >> it was more british style than american-style, which was good.
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>> do i think that jim lehrer was a weak moderator? yes. that is okay. it is not about the moderator. it was as if there was none. in some ways, maybe that it -- is what it ought to be. it is about the candidates, not the moderator showboating. i thought it was good. >> if you asked both sides, the romney folks would say romney -- irani folks would say obama talked longer and the obama side would say romney talk longer. -- talked longer. i'm sure there is a breakdown. >> president obama talked about 5 minutes or so -- 4.5 minutes more than romney. but i think romney was better. less was more. >> probably said more words. >> on the side of the room, yes, sir.
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>> i was wondering, have you seen any differences in the senate races where republicans associate with the tea party? if not, how could turn out affect that? -- how could turnout affect that? >> there are a lot of important races in november, not just the presidential. i do not know the answer. there are a lot of very close senate races, like charlie was talking about, in states that product -- in states that romney is probably going to win. indiana, missouri, north dakota, arizona. probably more. there are 4 states where democratic senate candidates are running very competitively with republican candidates in republican states. some are even ahead.
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i just did a poll and joe connolly was ahead by two points. that is indiana. another truism of american politics is that people usually vote their party. i think that is going to be an interesting dynamic the next 4.5 weeks. massachusetts is a good example from the republican perspective. president obama is clearly going to run well there. ken scott brown withstand the blue tide there? -- can scott brown withstand the blue tide there? right now, the democrats are doing well. you have a candidate in indiana who succeeded the incumbent in that the primary. he is a tea party candidate. that it -- i s a -- is a tight race. you have a solid republican candidates. i was in arizona about a month
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ago, where democrats are competitive. it shows that these races are still fluid. you can be undecided and we can say that the race for undecided voters started yesterday. it will still be a couple of weeks before they really engaged. i do not know if people vote in races like a chess game. i do think people pick and choose. one from aisle a, one from aisle b. one thing we have not talked about is the fundamental dissatisfaction americans have with government. president, senate, congress, and governor, how do they make those choices? >> i have to agree with fred, for the most part. you look at indiana. if lugar had won his primary, i know indiana would not have been on anybody's map.
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that is not how it is here it is a very tight race. fred alluded to the fact that, given that romney should win at state, i would be shocked if democrats are talking that up as a when already. these are races that will go down to the wire. there are a number of them throughout the country, whether it is tea party-related or not. >> i can think of some exceptions, but unlike 2010, the tea party movement is not a top-of-mind concern for me right now. murdoch clearly identifies with the tea party movement. ted cruz, in texas, clearly associated with that movement. i do not consider todd a. can -- todd akin, he is more of a social conservative associated with the movement.
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i am not saying there are not tea party people out there. most of the people i know before president obama was writ -- was elected were tea party republicans. we slapped a new label on an old bottle. i am not sure most of these faults voted for obama in 2008 and became t. party people in 2009 -- tea party people in 2009. it is not a thing i am looking at quite so much this time. to me, you see enormously- talented candidates and some that are not very good and whether they are catching on. two places that have surprised
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me is hawaii. i think the former governor is a terrific candidate. she is the republican nominee. she has run a great campaign, done everything right. it is a pretty democratic place. does not seem to be happening. that surprised me. conversely, in connecticut, with linda mcmahon, my read was she spent $70 million in the best republican year since 1994 and loses. i did not think she would have much of a chance. she is now running ahead. she is a better candidate and has run a better campaign. she has a democratic opponent who has turned out to be far more problematic and has some issues that a lot of us were not familiar with. finally, women voters held the wrestling thing against linda mcmahon so much last year.
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they seemed to have moved -- they seem to have moved beyond it. it seems like old news, and less relevant than it was. she is running very well and arguably, ahead. go figure. the tea party thing is not something that is on the top of my mind this year. it is sot sound like much on yours. let's go to this side of the room. >> i wanted to ask about the 2004 analogy. you have not honed in on this. basically, we are headed for a 2004 election. not a very popular president, the elitist guy. the president was more of a man that you wanted to have a beer with. that changed last night, at least for a moment. romney was the one who was approachable and obama was the pedantic professor.
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if you were advising the campaigns, how do you turn it back to that original dynamic? for romney, how do they continued down the same trajectory? for the first time, we knew he had a pulse as a living individual. [laughter] >> that is a great question. the thing that has been impressive for president obama, in the polls, is his likability factor. it is not just, is the more down-to-earth? it is the whole obama package, the family. people connect with them, even anti-obama voters. i think the hardest thing to do is to advise a campaign that has been running for four years. i do not work for them. they no way more about what they -- know way more about what
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they are facing than i do. my advice to them would be very simple. they have a lot of things to worry about. i think he needs to close the deal. he needs to say, it is not about mitt romney anymore. what last night showed, it is about barack obama. i do not think they ever ran as if they had this in the bag. the analysts say, he was 20 points ahead and now it is a tie game. they always do this in a close election. they started defining mitt romney before he was a nominee. as we head into novemberheadtheir number one imperative is to answer the question. -- as we head into november, their number one imperative is to answer the question. what will the next four years be
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like? we have done it before and we can do it again. when they answer that question, that is when they will win the election? >> there is no question that the president is well-liked and there are also a lot of folks who do not care for him as much. a lot of people look at him and admire him. i admire him. he has played golf 104 times in the last four years. i would love to come anywhere close to that. in terms of the romney campaign, i cannot talk to my partner in boston, who has been during the campaign, because i am doing a lot of work for the super pacs. whenever we talk, it is about the nationals, or his redskins and my giants. i will hold off on giving advice to the romney campaign. they have a lot of people giving them advice.
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i hope they are able to capitalize on this new-found momentum. >> to your point about 2004, i thought the obama campaign ought to be paying royalties to karl rove. i think they studied that 2004 race very closely. on certain things, applied it very well. for example, take one of your opponents most important strengths and turn it into a weakness. john kerry's war record and turn it into a weakness. mitt romney's business experience, turn it into a weakness. try to peel out some undecided and independent voters. after a certain point, do not blow your whole campaign war chest going after people who may never end up going your way. instead, go back and try to find out how to inflate the turnout among your base using technology and micro targeting.
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i think the obama campaign has done extremely well with that. 2004, if you are going to look at a model, that is one to look at in terms of the strategy employed in this campaign, at least on the obama side. >> i doubt that karl is going every day to check his mail box for that check. [laughter] >> that is pretty safe. we are going to the middle and then we are going back over that way, to that side. >> i was just wondering, both candidates showed they are qualified to be president last night.
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i was wondering if you thought the demeanor was the main factor as opposed to the actual message that they were saying and the points they were making? they both had their own facts and statistics. i was wondering if you thought it was all about the way they came out and the energy they had or if what they were saying had as big an effect as the perception of how they are doing and how excited they are to be there. >> the first observation is, clearly, the aarp has lowered its age. [laughter] it is a good thing that you identify yourself. image is important. body language is important. the president heard himself with -- hurt himself with that last night. i do not think it romney side should think he will be like
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that in the next debate. they will look at that and say, that is not how we want to project. you go back to the tapes and break it down, romney had a lot of good, substantive points that he got across. from a policy standpoint, i thought it was pretty rich. when people were complaining that they got too deep into policy and too much in the woods, well, usually the complaint is that there is not enough substance and it is too much style. from that standpoint, i thought it was a pretty good debate for the american people. it one difference was that clearly, mitt romney came fired up and ready to go. and obama almost looked like george h. w. bush, checking his watch.
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>> i do not think we saw the same debate, all of us. i do not think the president's demeanor was especially checked out. he talked longer than mitt romney, so clearly, he was engaged. why the analysis of the debate is the way it is, from my perspective, it is not so much how the president did. he did fine. there were moments that he did well and there were moments that he did not do well. in general, he did fine. he was not checking his watch or yawning. i think why last night was important was because of how well governor romney performed. as a political analyst, not putting on my partisan hat, to meet, -- to me, when you watch football games, you can see when they are trying to establish the run. even i can figure that out. i did not think he was going for likability.
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i thought he was going for what his strengths were and should be, the economy. i am focused on the economy. this is what i have done and this is what i will do. to me, from the moment of the debate, it was clear that that was what he was all about. he executed over the last 1.5 hours. >> it is the historic norm. if you are in the democrat in a competitive nomination, you run to the left and pivot back to the middle. republican, the same to the right. romney ran unsuccessfully in 2008 for the nomination. he had been running to the right for four years. it becomes a condition that -- conditioned behavior. maybe it is pavlovian or
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something. i think he was slow making the turn back and heading towards swing voters. i did not see him doing that effectively until his convention speech. and then really, really, really last night. last night was the first time this campaign that he struck me as the guy that i saw in 1994 who ran and served as governor. he was as close to mitt romney 1.0 as opposed to 2.0 or 30, back to the is. -- or 3.0, back to who he is. i think this is romney. when you are not pretending to be somebody else, i think you do a better job. i think he has been a longtime proponent of something else and -- spent a long time pretending
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to be something else and has had a long time to get back to his roots. i wondered if he could get back and he did. obviously, a strong performance. there was somebody wasyes -- there was somebody, yes, sir. >> i am chris nelson. >> do i know you? chris is a good friend. >> good to see you. speaking as an aarp member -- [laughter] long standing. way past the minimum. a maybe weird poll yesterday. people have been indicating that they are tired of this partisanship. may be unified government was a way to make things work together. it fits a little bit with what we have been talking about, making yourself more appealing to independents and things like that. is there any sense in thinking about how e candidate or the other can preach the patriotism
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of bipartisanship, the patriotism of -- the rodney king thing. or are we kidding ourselves? >> i think you saw some of that from governor romney last night when he talked about his experience in massachusetts, when the legislature was 87% democratic and he worked with them every week, all the time. he managed to get his health care plan passed with only 2% dissension in the vote. -- only two dissenting votes. i think you saw that from him. in terms of a broader picture, americans -- this is not a knock. they generally want what they do not have. when in one party control, you tend to have elections like 2006
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or 2010, where the party that controls everything get slapped down. when you have what you have now, where you have split control and the democrats have 2/3, you hear a lot of frustration. people say, "i think we would be better off with one party control." until i actually get it. the careful what you wish for. -- be careful what you wish for. >> there is somebody in that corner, back there. >> creative alliance communications spanish news service. last night, my reaction to the debate was, where is the substance, mr. romney? you are throwing around a lot of commons. is that a good debate? nobody had any plans. the president did not take credit for some of the things he is doing. second, minority communities are very scared of the voter i.d.
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is being glossed over that it has happened over and over again in elections. could you comment on how you are polling, and if you are involved with the hispanic and black leadership to make sure the vote gets out? >> i would disagree with the first part. i thought it was one of the more substantive debates i have seen in a while. i was watching some of the dial meters. when romney was going through his five-point plan, his numbers went straight up. i do not think it was vague, from either of them. there was a lot of specificity and substance. >> it is the most substantive debate that i can remember, in terms of policy and plans, in a long time. maybe the bar is set so low it
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is not hard to get over it. but i was kind of surprised. >> i thought -- i guess, what is substance these days, especially in the modern debate? i guess my summation would be you had a very good sense of philosophy and's approach to government. substance -- we will save it for c-span. >> to the second part of your question, i guess my reaction is, and i say this as someone who was raised in louisiana, i do not think there is significant voter fraud in this country, widespread, organized voter fraud. the bush justice department found 400 individual cases in eight years. that works out to one case per state per year, which seems to
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be fairly light. i think a lot of what is going on -- do i think a lot of republicans and conservatives -- do i think if you gave them shots of sodium pentothal and wired them to pay polygraph and asked whether there is a vote fraud problem in the country, i think they would say yes and passed a lie-detector test. i do not think there is. i do think they are convinced of it. there is political opportunism as well. if somebody wants to jump in -- i am not sure i want the republican consultant to say something that would get him in trouble with folks in his base. i know "the wall street journal" is kind of leading a charge in establishing voter fraud as a major problem. to me, it is sporadic and
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episodic. a sheriff's race is more likely to be stolen and then a presidential or congressional race. >> twitter's would that be? let us talk about that. -- which race would that be? >> i think it is a solution in search of a problem. i think a lot of republican concerns are sincere. this florida situation -- the florida republican party. these things happen on both sides. but i do not think there is a huge problem. at the same time, in life, most to goneed ids -- id's about our daily lives. we ought to get official id's in the hands of voters, to help them go about their lives,
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including voting. >> i am going to throw the last question to these guys. >> looking back at the 2004 election, and the strategy that president bush and his team employed, when you look at this cycle, you know it is going to be a close race. what i see in the ground game is the obama campaign really planning in the field a lot more of then governor romney's campaign has. an example is ohio. the romney campaign has 36 field offices, where as the obama campaign has 96. the same thing in virginia and other states. it seems like they were planning for a while. in a close race, it comes down to the ground game, moving 3% to 5% out to the polls.
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>> our advantage was, since january 2009, president obama a pretty much knew he would be the nominee in 2012. he could plan for four years. i think we were all really happy with the results of 2008. but 2008 fifth do not come every year. do not come every year. they realized it would be a close election, and they plan ahead. any campaign from city council to president, you have to do two things well. you have to win the message war. that is why debates and strategy are important. you also have to win the ground game. the one thing they could do from the beginning was the ground game. we all know where the battleground states are.
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one of the great things in 2008, from the democrats' perspective, was how many people got engaged. i think the obama campaign clearly has done a good job of keeping those people engaged to help out. it is four years of activity and planning for a 30-day sprint. that is an advantage we have, going to election day. >> just to -- >>, or maybe take a slap -- just to echo or make a slightly different wording, we know the obama campaign has a fabulous ground game. we cannot tell yet how good the rahm the effort may be. it could be fabulous or in between. we do not know. to echo something fred said, the obama campaign has to have a better ground game, because of
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the challenge i think they have motivating and getting young and latino voters out. i think the african-american community is motivated, where they do not necessarily need a lot of organization effort. young people and latinos, it is a challenge. it is essential for the obama campaign to have a good ground game, because those groups were so important to his victory last time and will not be there on their own devices without, motivational efforts. i think they have to. >> that is an important point. a couple of observations. i do not know how good the romney ground game will be. i do know it will be miles ahead of the 2008 ground game for mccain. from that standpoint, it is going to be better. the president -- i actually
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disagree. it was not january of 2009. he knew he was not going to be seriously challenged when hillary said yes to the secretary of state job. they have had time to plan. the romney campaign, they had to win a primary. that went on for a long time. that cut into organizational effort. i think you are going to see the best republican ground game. i do not know the republicans -- i agree with charlie. republican motivation is sky high. i do not know if they need the same ground game to be the romney campaign. the challenge is to win the message side rather than the turnout. republican turnout is going to be strong, this time around. >> we have five minutes left. what i would like for glenn and fred is take your campaign
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strategist hat off. as really smart guys, really smart students of public opinion, who have been in washington for -- >> 25 years. >> a while. [laughter] >> thinking about after the election -- yes, there are various permutations of what happens in the presidential race, the senate race, and the house. those are important. thinking about things that need to happen by december 31, in terms of the fiscal cliff, things that may have to have been in terms of revenue, in terms of entitlement cuts, in terms of spending cuts, in the challenges facing us between now and december 31, and the first part of next year, and any grand bargain -- what are your -- anything at the top of your mind that you think is a
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challenge for either your party or the other guys? sort of wax on that for a minute or two each. >> it happens every so often that the movie that should win best picture does not. a movie that did not win that year, but should have, is "rocky iii."mr. t -- "rocky iii." mr. t growled into the camera, "my prediction? payne." -- pain." i do not think either harry reid nor john boehner know how it
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will come out, much less mitt romney or barack obama. i am not going to pretend, other than it is going to be an all- consuming mass, which i do not think the public is ready for or has any idea is coming. i think no matter who wins the election, what happens between now and the end of the year is going to be very traumatic for the country. >> let me refined this and maybe do fred first, and then glen. sometimes, and doing some things to entitlements -- sometimes, at doing things to implements and domestic spending, it is "inevitable-- pretty inevitable. those are things a democrat will have to deal with. what are the political consequences? and on the republican side,
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there has to be more revenue, and defense is going to take a hit. that is going to be ugly medicine for republicans. fred, if you were sitting down with harry reid and nancy pelosi, or glen, if you were sitting down with mitch mcconnell or eric cantor, and they are about to go in the room and get a lot of blood on their hands, and the ankle deep in blood -- and be ankle-deep in blood, not to be too vivid -- [laughter] what would you tell them to be mindful of? >> that is a good question, and hard to answer. one reason is the function of time. and it would be presumptuous of me. i will give you an answer. >> i have been presumptuous my
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entire career. >> we are smart guys, well read. we have good taste in movies, apparently. we know policy. but we are also political people, paid to give political advice. i guess my piece of advice would be, and do not have people like me in the room. we are paid or not paid to point out all the different angles. i believe there are times in our country where you are not looking for a, c, d. you are looking from a to z. i am reading a book on the 1815 compromise, and seeing people listen more. putting a political hat back on, what i would tell them to be mindful of is -- i am sure glen
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could say this too. talking to people on the phone and in focus groups, i am always impressed and feel good as an american. when you get down to it, the american people have common sense. they may not like some medicine, like with my kids. the have medicines at the pharmacy where you put a sweetener in them, and they have that all the time. they may need the sweetener, but fundamentally, we want to do the right thing. it sounds like mr. smith, but do not have people like us in the room. bank on theood common sense of the american people. >> i think this is going to be one where nobody is happy with what comes out. you cannot be. if it was easy, it would have been done by now. that is why they kept putting it
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off, because it is damn hard. public opinion is going to be moving sharply. as long as everybody is unhappy, it is probably a good outcome. >> i want to thank two of the best in the business, fred and plan -- glen. i have learned a lot and have new thoughts and ideas i have gotten from these guys. thank you, united technologies, for sponsoring this, and "national journal." these are routine things for a high-quality, smart publication like atlanta -- atlantic media. thank you all for coming out, and see you next time. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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>> our road to the white house coverage continues this evening. at 8:00 eastern, we begin with president obama campaigning in fairfax, virginia, on the campus of george mason university. at 8:00 thursday, mitt romney is also in virginia. he spoke at a caterpillar equipment construction dealer -- construction equipment dealer. also coming up this weekend, sunday morning, live coverage of the connecticut senate debate. the former ceo of world wrestling entertainment debates chris murphy. they are vying for the open senate seat of retiring senator lieberman. >> almost 20 years ago, we broadcast one of the most controversial stories in our 44
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years on the air. it was called "yes, but is it art." i was accused of being a philistine, lacking the sensibility to appreciate the challenging nature of contemporary art. in those 20 years, the works that i questioned, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, are now worth hundreds of millions. >> what made everybody so mad? >> i discovered something that i had absolutely -- i could barely believe. when you question someone's taste in art, it is more personal, more probing, then their politics, religion, sexual preference. it is something that goes to the very soul. you say, "you bought that?"
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morley safer on his career at cbs and with walter cronkite. >> we need to tackle our nation's challenges before they tackle us. we need to save and strengthen medicare and social security. we are putting ideas on the table. we are not trying to scare seniors. we are going to say -- save for my generation, so these promises are kept. >> they say what barack obama and joe biden have done is stolen money from medicare to get obamacare. you see it in the ads and hear it in everything they say. nothing could be further from the truth. >> next thursday night, october 11, ryan and by dint will face off in their only debate.
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-- and joe biden will face off in their only debate. watch the debate, and we will have your reactions. follow our live coverage on television, radio, and online. >> the day after arguing before the supreme court, the lead attorney in kiobel v. dutch petroleum speaks on the case. the supreme court began its new term on monday. the case questions of whether -- questions of whether an american suit can be brought against a foreign company. this takes place at american university and is about one hour
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and 13 minutes. >> good afternoon. i am a professor of law and associate dean for scholarships here at the american university washington college of law. corporate liability for human rights violations outside the united states, after an argument in the supreme court. this event is being broadcast on c-span. please know you can send questions for our speakers. that is for the question and answer time. a couple of quick announcements. first, we would like to think jennifer dobson and her staff, the facilities and public relations teams, the navy and
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technology folks, and everyone else who has helped put this together, including the staff at the earthrights international. this is being co-sponsored by a program on comparative and environmental law and the international legal studies program. before i introduced the speakers, for those interested, we are also hosting a conference october 15 about the human rights system. you can check the website for more information about that conference. in its first argument of the term, the supreme court heard the arguments in -- rearguments in kiobel versus dutch petroleum, under the human rights claims act court.
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-- tort. we talk about the alien tort statute. in the order in which they are speaking, to my left is katie redford, the co-founder and u.s. office director of earthrights international. paul hoffman is the lead counsel for the plaintiffs. john bollinger -- bellinger is a former legal adviser for the department of state and offered an amicus brief. andrew grossman is a little fellow with the heritage foundation. >> great to see everyone today. it is wonderful to see so many students interested in this topic and in this case. it is really important. before we talk about what
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happened yesterday, and what this may mean for the future of the alien tort statute, i want to give you a little bit of the history, and how we got here with this law. coincidentally, it started for me when i was in moscow, as a law student in the 1990's -- in at the -- in of law school as a student in the 1990's. i was passionate about justice. i thought being a lawyer means you develop the skills and expertise to work for justice, to work on behalf of people and communities that need the law to raise their rights and vindicate their rights.
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this law was used in the 1970's, even though it was passed 200 years ago in the first congress of the united states. it remained dormant and was awoken in the 1970's as a human rights law. lawyers from the center for constitutional rights brought a case which got a lot of play yesterday in the court. it was brought on behalf of a family from paraguay whose brother and son was tortured to death in paraguay. again, alien, the plaintiff. torture, extrajudicial killing. that was deemed to be in violation of the law of nations, human rights law. it was deemed to be in violation of the law of nations. this field of human rights litigation under the alien tort
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statute began. remember this seminal case. three things happened outside of the united states. the plaintiff, the defendant, and the actions all happened in paraguay. i was inspired by this. now i know why i went to law school. i am going to do these kinds of cases. i spent a lot of time in my summers in refugee camps. i'm a human rights survivors, and victims of the same kinds of abuses that were at issue in that case. this time, the people i met were people who were running from human rights abuses in burma that were connected to a u.s. oil company, the or connected to a corporation, unocal, who had hired the burmese military to provide security for their gas pipeline.
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in fulfilling the contract and providing security for the pipeline, the burmese military force thousands of people to build military barracks for their pipeline security forces. forced people to work on infrastructure for the pipeline, like bridges, helicopter pads, roads. security forces guarding the pipeline did what burmese security forces were new party is for, and still are -- were notorious for, and still are -- rape, torture, and killing. i looked at the alien tort and wondered whether there was a reason we could not bring a case against unical. torture, killing, slave labor, violation of the law of nations. i am smart law student. i did not see any reason why we could not.
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that is why we started earth rights international, to use the law as a tool for justice for people like those people who became our clients in the first corporate case under the alien tort statute, known as doe v. unical. most of my part professors thought this idea was crazy. they said, "you cannot sue a corporation for human rights abuses." i said, "you are just saying that because no one ever has." i found someone who was willing to go along with it, who had a lot of experience doing alien tort statute cases. we did file the case, and a california court granted jurisdiction over unical for the human rights abuses associated with the pipeline in burma. our clients had family members killed. one of our clients was tortured
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while she was holding her baby, nursing her baby by a cooking fire. she and her baby were kicked into the fire by pipeline security forces, and her baby later died. and we had slave labor building helicopter landing pads for the pipeline, and other infrastructure. human rights abuses. terrible suffering. our clients, because of this law, could get their foot in the door and have a chance to tell their story to a court and seek justice for the human rights abuses unical was complicit in. yesterday, in their brief leading up to this case yesterday, is basically arguing to turn back the clock to a pre-unical world, where corporations operating overseas cannot be brought to a challenge in u.s. courts under the alien
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tort statute for human rights abuses in which they are complicit. since the doe v. unical case established this precedent, allowing corporations to be sued, we have been able to bring cases, and others have brought cases, challenging complicity in the holocaust, crimes against humanity in sudan, torture and killings in indonesia, war crimes in papua new guinea. we have a lawsuit against chiquita for their complicity in hiring paramilitary death squads in colombia, which involves thousands of victims of egregious human rights abuses. yesterday, the supreme court heard arguments that will decide the legacy of the corporate cases, and answer the question of whether corporations present
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in the united states can be held accountable here for the worst human rights abuses, no matter where they occur. we will find out whether that will remain intact. in kiobel v. royal dutch petroleum, the court will consider not only corporate lawsuits, but the entire history of the ats, whether lawsuits can be brought against corporations for any abuses by individuals that happen in other countries. shell is accused of conspiring with and abetting the nigerian military in crimes against humanity, and illegal executions of a people who opposed shell oil operations in their territory. shell is arguing to the supreme court that even if they did these things, even if they asked the nigerian military to
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brutally suppress the movement and execute its leaders, they cannot be held responsible, both because the abuses happened in nigeria and because they are a corporation. you will hear from paul and others how they felt the arguments went yesterday. from where i sat, i thought it went well. what will happen if the supreme court rules that show cannot be sued? it may be that no more ats cases can be brought against corporations. this is a critical legal tool in corporate accountability for human rights abuses, and injustice and accountability for all human rights -- and in justice and accountability for all human rights survivors. we will seek justice for the victims regardless of what happens. we also need to make sure there are new avenues and new lawyers
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like yourself to bring these kinds of cases, to find new ways to hold corporations accountable for the abuses they commit, wherever they are committed. it is not true and cannot be true that what shell is arguing, what happened in nigeria, stays in nigeria. they are present in this country. our courts should keep their doors open to allow people just to have a chance to tell their stories and seek justice. that is what is at stake in this case, and that is what we are going to find out from the supreme court. thank you. >> thanks to katie for giving us such a great introduction to the reason why we bring these cases. i'm going to turn to what happened yesterday because that's what i've been asked to talk about and the points that -- obviously i've been immersed
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in this now for quite some time and now they don't have to argue in front of the supreme court again, i'm much more relaxed, as you can see. the points i sort of was trying to think of what the most important points were from my perspective. one point is that the defendants in the case, shell and its ameki, including john bollinger to my left, took extreme positions against our position in the case. in fact, in the sosa case, which was argued eight years ago and the first case that the supreme court decided on the alien torts statute, most of the issues that the defendants and their amecki were raising to my mind were resolved in
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sosa. certainly their essence was resolved. whether the court actually said in so many words they were resolved is a matter for some debate. but everybody knew what was at stake in the sosa case. all of the same arguments were raised eight years ago in that case and the court decided after hearing all those arguments that the alien torts statute could be used to challenge modern international human rights violations. to be sure, the supreme court left open many questions about which human rights violations could be vindicated and other issues. but it endorsed the case and by endorsing that line of cases, i think at least implicitly
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endorsed the idea that the supreme court could hear human rights cases that emerged on foreign soils. because virtually all of the cases had arisen on foreign soil. they were not cases that orose -- arose on u.s. territory, on the high seas. we were facing modern-day pirates, though. one thing that struck me yesterday was that the supreme court, no matter what one guesses is going to happen, the supreme court matters. you had lots of words yesterday based on the endorsement of the
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prior case that justices, particularly in questioning shell's counsel were trying to force her to come to grips with the fact that the court really had said these things eight years ago and that they mattered. so i think the importance of precedent is something to bear in mind. i think when the court decides things, even justices that may not have agreed with the original decision become part of a process where you don't just discard precedent because you might not have voted that time the first time around. like the sosa case, i think the arguments that were made against our case here were very extreme argument, that the alien torts statute never was extra territorial and i think the history on that blows that argument out of the water
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because we were able to find diplomatic correspondents that had to do with an incident shortly after the alien torts statute which clearly occurred on foreign soil and where the attorney general of the united states, attorney general bradford in 17 5 said the alien torts statute was available to indicate those particular claims, which had to do with breach of neutrality where american citizens were aiding the french in an attack of the sierra leon colony, which was a british territory. the idea that the statute could never be used extra territoryly was an extreme position. and i think the idea that corporations can never be sued, that you can signal out that category of defendants, that they can never be sued is also an extreme position they don't
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think is well supported. and i think the other thing that shell and -- at least sun of mecki did was take a position about the principle of international law. one of the principles of international law is that states have the right to act unless there's something that prevents them from acting. the question is do states, meaning governments, countries, do they have the ability to enforce international human rights law in various ways? can they do that by implementing principles of universal jurisdictioning where, if tortures appear on your shores, whether within your territory or whether the torture is one of your nationals, can those governments take action in support of the entire international community so that
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we can eliminate the scourge of torture and genocide and slavery from the world today? there's controversy about all of that but it seems the re responsibilities, shell, took the position that -- but it -- but the respondent end, shell, took the position that that's not the position of international law. but i think that one of the problems that the court will have is that the other side's position on international law is accepted then the united states is an international law violator in a lot of respects, including the act where the congress passed the law to do precisely what the alien torts statute does and under the
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response analysis, that's a violation of international law. i think that would come as a great surprise to congress, to president bush who signed it and probably a great surprise to the international community because no one protested that as far as i know and no one, as far as i know, has protested the alien torts statute protection act. where does that leave us? the court, clearly from the argument in february, has expressed some concern about the circumstances in which foreign plaintiffs can sue for incorporations within the united states for things that happen outside the united states. now, one of our arguments to the court is that our clients -- they're aliens in the sense that they're nigerian citizens when they filed this suit. but all of them were u.s. residents when they filed. in fact, all of them have
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gotten asylum in the united states and they got asylum in the united states because of the human rights violations that they allege shell was complicit in and shell is here making lots of money here. and one of the thing that our clients found was that wherever they lived, and they all lived somewhere in the midwest, they saw shell stations all around them, just like back home. they thought well, shell is really here. why can't we sue them here? that's the issue at the heart of the case. why can't people have strong ties to the united states now, and they have them because of the human rights violations, why can't they sue shell here for the torts they committed against them in nigeria. but the courts are concerned about that, not just about our case but about setting rules.
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and i think the court was seeking sub compromise, at least that seemed to be going on in the questioning yesterday about what the principles should be so that not every case should be brought, particularly if there are other cases where the case can be litigated. it's possible that the court will consider local remedies of some kind. there was a lot of discussion about that. but i think that the court, at least based on the argument, and it's always very dangerous to base anything on the argument, know that from many years of experience that you can never predict. it seemed unlikely that the court was accepting categorical positions and that they were inclined to overrule their precedent of only eight years ago. i think it's more likely that the court will struggle to find some way of moving forward so that john bollinger and i can
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get back to litigating all the cases we were litigating before there. the definition of aiding and abetting and all these other things so that we can have fun doing that for a while. but i think that's the most likely result of all this but we'll see what the court does when we get a decision. [applause] >> paul, are you at least confident that there won't be a second re-argument order? >> when i went home last time in february, i went to sleep for about three days and then when i walked into my office -- and as i walked into my office i had a call from the clerk of the supreme court saying i'd like to read you this order. it turns out that my wife and i are going back to the same place from san diego this weekend so when i walk in on monday, i'm not answering the phone. that's for sure.
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>> john? >> thanks, and thank you all for having me here. i've been to boston college before but it's been a couple of years. i'm speaking today not as an advocate but as someone who was the state department legal advisor for four years and who had to deal as a government official with a lot of these cases. so i hope what i leave with you at the end here and with some of the questions is how a u.s. government official grapples with some oaf these questions. because i completely understand half of me where paul and katie are coming from. when there are human rights violations in the world and all of us know that they are, if they are committed by individuals or corporations, people need to be held accountable for that. the question is that one permissible under international
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law as it is now and second, is that the statute that congress has written and should judges interpret it that way? my experience -- let me talk to you about my experience in these cases. when i became legal advisor i had a whole line of countries coming in to complain about lawsuits that had been brought in the united states against either their officials or against corporations of their nationality complaining that it was a violation of international law for u.s. courts to be judging acts that occurred in the territory of other countries where there was no nexus to the united states. so the view certainly of almost all other countries in the world, including most of our closest allies, the british, the australians, the canadians,
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the swiss, the germans all believe -- and these are countries that are strong, strong believers in humanen rights -- that it's not up to the courts and the united states to be judging actions that don't -- didn't occur on u.s. soil or didn't involve their nationals. during the period of time that i was legal advisor we had a whole lot of different marches, letters, diplomatic protests saying the alien torts statute, far from upholding international law is in fact a violation of international law. maybe you can argue these countries are just trying to protect their own officials or corporations. but what i can tell you is that other countries in the world believe that the alien torts statute, even if the policy that paul and others are urging
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on this, in fact violates basic principles of international law. during the bush administration, when the u.s. government was asked for its views on these cases, we did file a number of breefls in different courts and lower courts, including in the supreme court arguing that the alien torts statute of 1789 was never intended to apply to torts that occurred in other countries. the framers would have thought it absurd for the fledgling courts of the new republic in 1789 to be hearing cases brought by victims of the french revolution saying that they had been impropererly guillotined and that the courts in france would not hear their cases so they were brought to the united states for a federal judge to hear whether france had violated the human rights
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of victims inside france. now, i -- paul has a slightly different view on this. slightly different view. even if you believe that that was not what the framers intended in 1789 -- because i think paul would be hard pressed to say that the framers said that our courts in 1790 should hear the case of a human rights victim in france. that was not what this statute was intended to do. the question is over the last 200 years, should the courts now interpret the statute that way, even though it was not intended to be interpreted that way over 250eu678. essentially it was rediscovered in the 1980's and used for this purpose. and the key question is then is, even though congress may not have intended it to be used that way, should courts
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appropriately interpret it that way, essentially to move the law in a new direction or is that more appropriately left to congress to decide that? that's what they did in the torture protection act, which allows lawsuits against a category of individuals for or chure and other human rights violations. so a key question for you to think about is even if corporations or individuals should be held liable in u.s. courts for human rights violations, which is a perfectly appropriate argument. congress did decide that in the torture protection act. should the courts today decide on their own that these 25 cryptic words from 1789 are intended to do those things. let me be clear, and i don't want to go too far or -- on this, but the views we were articulating in the bush administration were the best
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arguments of the career lawyers at the justice department and of the state department on how the 1789 alien torts statute ought to be interpreted, that that was their best view on how that ought to be interpreted. now, in this case, paul clement, the former solicitor general and i who had filed briefs on behalf of the bush administration teamed up again essentially to write the same briefs on behalf of a group of companies who had been sued in these cases and we cataloged in our brief -- in the first round in february when everyone else was arguing the corporate liability point, we want today's reprise this argument about was the alien torts statute ever intended by congress and should it be applied now to apply extra territorial. we believed it was a violation of international law for the courts to have no nexus to the
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united states. i was surprised myself when the court ordered the case to be rebriefed and reargued on this very issue. i don't spend enough time before the supreme court to know how many times that happens but it's very rare for the court. if they like an issue they may decide it in the case. it's rare they order the whole case rebriefed and reargued. on the extra territorial issue, it's now been completely focused. paul did a very good job yesterday reiterating the points you just heard of why this is what the law ought to be. i can make those arguments as well that that's what the law ought to be. the question is, if that's the law the congress wrong is that, in fact, consistent with international law as it is now or are these decisions more appropriately made by congress as they were made in the torture victims protection act? let me say a couple of words
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about the argument yesterday and then end with questions. i don't know how many of you looked through the transcript. it was fairly predictable in a lot of ways. the conservative justices, scalia, rockets and alito reiterated the points they'd made in february and pushed paul on -- why are these cases in our courts? what possible connection to our courts do these cases involving a foreign corporation in a foreign country in a foreign government have in the zivets the more liberal justices were trying to preserve the idea that at least with respect to lawsuits against foreign government officials who have really done terrible things that the alien torts statute ought to at least continue to be allowed to preserve those kinds of cases and they really pushed -- it seemed to be clear that there are at least four
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justices who would like to preserve filardica. the newer justices to the court -- elena kagan who was a justice classmate of mine and justice sotomayor seemed to be striking a middle ground in fact, they were questioning whether it was appropriate for courts to be hearing a case involving a foreign corporation on foreign territory or at least whether other avenue news hadn't been exhausted. justice sotomayor said have you exhausted all the remedies that could have been brought in nigeria or to have brought it in britain or the netherlands first? justice kennedy was really concerned about reciprocity. this is what happens one of the greatest concerns of the u.s. government -- would we be comfortable with other
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countries did this to us? would we be comfortable when other countries say this is a violation of international law to be judging act in their country, would we be comfortable if others were to set up a civil international 1kwrurd -- jurisdiction statute and apply that to u.s. government officials? i can tell you we have protested consistently over decades when other countries have tried to apply international civil jurisdiction. let me end with this point because many of you all are lawyers who would like, i hope, to go into international law. almost all lawyers have a client for a point of view. assume for a moment you are either the legal advisor for the state department or someone who joins the office, an assistant legal advisor and you are sitting down with hillary clinton right now and you are sitting down saying these
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arguments that you just heard as to why it is critically important for u.s. courts to be open for the violations of international human rights that can't be brought anywhere else to be heard here in the united states. and she will say to you that makes sense to me. and then you would say to her, but madam secretary, i need to tell you as your lawyer, if you make -- we make this argument here, you need to be comfortable that you will be sued and leon panetta will be sued outside the united states and we will not be able to complain. madam secretary, when you and leon panetta approve the drone strikes in pakistan or yemen, are you comfortable that you ask the secretary of defense will be sued in the nether land or elsewhere and have a judge
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in a foreign country hear that case even though it has no next us? so this is the question of reciprocity. i can tell you that's a very difficult issue because many of them have come out of the same hammen rights clinics and at least half of their brain or more of it and me as well wants there to be accountability for these cases. at the same time, one, did congress write the law that way? should judges rewrite a law that congress was not clear should apply to these kinds of cases and would we will comfortable on our own deciding that these cases could be heard in other cases exposing the united states to the same kind of actions around the world? i'll end with that and take more questions. [applause] >> i'm going to start by
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offering a few observations on yesterday's argument and then discuss what i think is a fundamental question behind all of this. i find it remarkable that nobody has identified what seems to be to be the big 40- -point font headline. eight justice asked question and some of them expressed very serious concerns about the way the alien torts statute is being applied in human right litigation. each one of the justices asked questions. i admit it's difficult to predict a judge's mind and thoughts. all of them asked questions on specific limitations on the availability of the alien torts statute in this type of litigation. scalia, kennedy, alito and roberts discussed the extraer
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the toil ill -- territorial issue. others focused on the resip porosity issue. and others asked very pointed questions. and then you had justice ginsberg, society mayor, kagan and -- society meier, kagan and sca colliea, bringing up the question of resip porosity. whether it is available in forums that have a greater connection to the issue or the defendants. you would also have presumably some type of exhaustion requirements. a plaintiff would either have to bring suit in those areas or attempt to or determine or present some evidence that doing so would be futile. the latter two, the jurisdiction of necessity as well as u.s. foreign policy issues were issues the court
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left open in sosa. they said they're interesting issues and maybe they'll come up in so much -- some future case. a lot did come up yesterday and that was just part of it. i think we can conclude that the kiobel litigation is probably in trouble. i didn't see it and maybe i'm blind to these things but i think it was difficult for me to see a justice to appeared particularly sympathetic to the theory of liability that's being put forward in this case. or to the idea that this particular case in these particular circumstances is being tried in u.s. federal courts. like that or lump that, last an observation of the justice's expressions and the way they a approached. justice kagan, when she was talking with katherine
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sullivan's shell's counsel said you may get off in this case and proceeded to ask about future cases. the court has a narrow and broader view about what to do in this case. in that sense it's not unlike sosa. paul hoffman spent a lot of his discussion the virtue of following and embracing sosa. but one must remember that the plaintiffs in sosa lost, and in that instance, the court did take incremental steps towards narrowing a.t.f.'s liability or at least their jurisdiction in a way that the court seemed to think -- and i think this underlies certainly the majority opinion -- would take more of the far-flung cases out of the federal courts. i think ma what the court ask seeing now is that that probably hasn't worked.
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again, you can debate whether that's the proper aim for the court to have but i think it's clear that sosa did not provide very much certainly as to some of the most basic issues regarding the alien torts statute and how it might operate in particular cases. the result has been many, many cases with uncertain outcomes. lots of potential liability in cases where maybe there ought or ought not to be. it's something that i think has been detrimental, not only to defendants, which obviously have to defend against some of these claims, but it's also been detrimental to plaintiffs. i think there's been a misdirection of resources towards litigation that might be directed towards political actions or other ends that might have, i think, more durable outcomes. so i think the question that the court is left and really what the court was struggling with is what is the purpose of all this? not the broader question.
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i think the question that animates a lot of discussion on these issues, which ask how do we deal with human right at large but the much narrower question, what is the a.t.s. for? sosa can be read very narrowly or very broadly. i think in the courts you saw pushback in both directions. the chief said at one point well, we decided this issue in sosa. if the majority of the court wants to do something that runs against the essence of sosa is or the emanation of sosa, they will have the votes to do that. but i think in a legal sense, they'll have the legal wherewithal to do that. the sosa opinion didn't really resolve all that much. so i'm going to tell awe little bit what i think, as shown by some of the questioning, would
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be an interesting way for the court to resolve the alien torts statute in my mind probably the correct way. at the same time that there had not been a lot of the actual spelunking the historical archives. looking at the foreign policy decisions at the time, looking at that broader context. how the confederation congress prior to the u.s. congress had dealt with these types of issues. the idea that the ats regis human rights violations -- regis human rights violations comes from a single sentence in a commentary on british law.
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that sentence identifies three obligations of international law. while sovereigns are the objects of international law obligations, these three had such importance and had such foreign-policy consequences am susceptible to judging by the courts, the sovereign was in violation of its international obligations by not providing some mechanism of dealing with those three things. they were safe context, piracy, an infringement of the rights of ambassadors. sosa took that sentence and a little bit of lawyers history and said, we're going to generalize from those specific norms into this idea that it is
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directed at all durable and current international law and norms. it might include any number of things that are subjects of treaties, but we have come up with when you look through all the historical materials and we try to figure out -- i think there -- it was not the broad. piracy was covered by two separate provisions of the same act. it was not a stand-alone statute. it was one sentence in a far larger -- judiciary act. safe, ducks are rights that although there -- safe conducts when they travel in a foreign
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country. when a person is admitted in a foreign country, that country has an obligation. it is a right under the national law. the language of the statute mirrors this understanding pretty closely. the legal documents of the time, it referred to a foreign person outside of his home state. a foreign person who might be within the united states. the reference to international on trees -- on treaties. there was this concern that these other types of norms were not things that were subject to judging. when you looked at the history and i'm sure that paul and katie will argue on the history, when you take a fair minded view of this and try to figure out what the first congress was viewing, it was relatively modest.
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it had very little to do with human rights. it does not mean that human rights are not worth pursuing. it just may simply mean the statute is perhaps not the right mechanism to do that. thank you. [applause] >> before we get to audience questions, i want to give the panel to respond to each other. maybe to provoke that, i want to ask a question of my tongue. -- i want to ask a question of my own. the curious position taken by the obama administration. in particular, the view that the statutes should allow for liability in some foreign cases, but not work is a corporation in one country being sued in another. it did not seem like the argument had any fans of the
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court yesterday, but i am curious if the panelists have talked about whether that is an intermediate position. whether the court might see that as a way out of this. whether jon cash explain why this brief was not signed by his -- wide jon cash explain why this brief was not signed by his predecessor. -- whether john can explain why this brief was not signed by his predecessor. >> it is so difficult to be a government official. you have to represent all of these competing interests. yes, you want to provide lawsuits that combine the -- provide accountability for bad human rights abuses. you want to uphold international law and prevent abusive reciprocal actions. in the first round of briefing, the administration filed a brief which people applauded.
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yes, corporations can be held liable for violations of international law. that was not a surprise. in the second brief, the administration sided with shell and said no this case should be dismissed. it is inappropriate for that statute to be used to supply jurisdiction for u.s. courts to hear a case brought by aliens against a foreign company in a foreign country for aiding and abetting the ax of a foreign government. you have the solicitor general of the united states arguing that this case ought to be dismissed. then they rode a brief, which did not lay out any principles. he rarely got pummeled for this yesterday. -- really got pummeled for this yesterday. this case should be dismissed, but i will not tell you have to deal with other cases.
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even the solicitor general did not say that. in a brief comment -- in the brief, the department of state has advised of this office? in its view, it was properly decided. that is about as far as distancing as you can imagine. i think that reflects this discomfort about reciprocity. if you look at the very first line in the u.s. government's brief about statement of the u.s. government interest that expresses concern about reciprocity and the possibility of reciprocal actions against the united states. john was really pushed on, what are you telling us? you are the solicitor general of the united states. this case ought to be dismissed, but we would like to go incrementally and i will let you know in the future about the future cases. beverly did not go down very
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well. in it -- that really did not go down very well. my predecessor did not sign a brief presumably because he did disagree with some of the points in it. the legal adviser of the state department, who is the key adviser on international -- has not signed a brief before the supreme court. it was noted by several of the justices yesterday. >> i did not think anybody on the court is buying the u.s. government. it does not have -- is clearly, there was an internal war within the administration about what to say. they wrote a brief instead of resolving that war, it was at war with itself. i do not think anybody on the court was interested in
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opposition. i do not think it has the kind of credibility that will gather a majority or any justices. that is part of the reason the solicitor general had so much trouble with the argument. i do not think you could defend the position. >> he did say i am here to reflect the views as broadly of the u.s. government and to balance competing interests of commitment to human rights, international law and concern about the reciprocal treatment. these are all the things that have got to go into the mix if you were the solicitor general or the legal advisor. >> folks in the audience who have questions, there is a microphone over there. if you want to start all line, we will call on you. my only other question, it is about sosa.
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critical remarks that some of the litigants -- are we fighting about what was true in 1789 anymore? >> there is obviously a fights about the history. i could not have more different views from andrew about the history. the legal historians that filed briefs could not have more differing views about history than andrew presented. i think it is completely wrong. it can be disproved pretty easily. the issue, it seems to me that part of the discussion was what we have been concerned about human rights as a legal matter?
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no. the law of nations did not have internationalists' human rights in 1789. what's sosa did was say that when the first congress decided action should be recognized for violations of the law of nations entreaties, it in 2004, a law of nations deals with human rights. there is a modern law of nations, a modern lot of human- rights, and congress' intent was not to implement the blackstone enormous or just the norms of 79 -- 1780 not -- blackstone enormous or just the norms of 1879. the whole point was that the pirates a 1789 had become the torturer of 1975. the statute was accepted as
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applying to a least some categories of very serious human rights violations. andrew made fun of my word "essence." we endorsed the reasoning, that probably meant something. it meant they were intent on enforcing those kinds of norms. they created a test that said modern norms and had to meet the same specificity and supports and universality as norms like piracy. it did not say, only pirates could be gotten. it said, there were other norms that could be enforced. i agree there were other issues left open. it seems to me at that point,
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there is no question that sosa accepted that the modern lot of international human rights could be forced. -- could be enforced. >> if you look at the transcript from yesterday, justice kennedy and read from -- kagan read from the transcript. the torturous has become like the pirates and slave trader before him. we give a stamp of approval, there were certain categories of offenders that were today's pirates. >> we have a line of people. paul has conceded.
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these cases could not have been brought in 1789. this is not what the framers thought in 1789. good arguments that that is what bloc ought to be today. human rights law, i spent more time in discussions with international human rights lawyers than you could possibly imagine. i know where human rights lawyers around the world would like to move law. there are good arguments. we have international criminal jurisdiction and tribunals. international civil jurisdiction, somebody can be sued in another country for acts that have no nexus, is not yet a principle of international -- should we move it in that
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direction? maybe. are there reasons not to do it? yes, there are also appeared at the end of the day, as far as does the united states did that? who should make that decision? should congress make the decision as they did in the torture victims protection act? we think this is a good thing, but we want to allow these types of cases to be brought with this statute of limitations after this is an exhausting. they had hearings, they crafted a lot, -- a law, the american people decided that these are the kinds of cases we want our courts to hear around the world. >> or do we want judges on their own to decide what they think belote ought to be because those 25 words in the statutes are not clear?
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>> i guess this begs the question, right. federal law authorized military commissions. congress did not defined laws of war. does the statute empowers courts in interpreting the phrase "laws of war"? >> congress has does this -- has done this once before. in this case, which is the more appropriate way to do it? their arguments on both sides. >> you are telling part of the story. congress did pass a law that said the courts could recognize violation of the laws of nations. they did not say what nations in 1789. they did not say piracy. it now includes human rights.
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congress said explicitly the alien it statute, we want that, we like that,. we want the ats to stay. the supreme court recognized that congress were passing it explicitly to reject the argument about the fact that it was limited to 1789. in terms of our allies, the european union, which includes most of the countries you mentioned, filed a brief in this case that said there was absolutely no problem with the application of the statute, including this case, and the principles of your reversal jurisdiction were accepted. -- universal jurisdiction were accepted. >> that is not the way she read
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the brief. why shouldn't i follow the european commission's brief? >> we can work it out together. towhy don't we turn questions? please identify yourself before you ask your question. >> my name is michael. my question is kind of about how they are going to end of defining the boundaries of ats with this case. it seems to me from the hearings, one of the ways they might try to limit this is the nexus to the united states. in this case, the connections seem to be -- the plaintiffs are now living here, found the seidlin year. you feel that is more of the
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nexus to the u.s. than sosa? or less of one? is this stretching it? is it would then the boundaries the aborted gone before it? -- with than the boundaries that have already gone before it? >> the connection to the united states was less than it is in this case. i did not know if that is the way they're going to go. one of the issues that we have not even touched on is the statute as an alternative to litigation in state courts. everybody agrees that our plan -- there is no question about that. all the same issues would come up in terms of other kinds of problems. there are loads of jurisdictions around the world the exercise
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-- including the united kingdom and the dutch. one of the questions is, is it better to have these cases litigated in federal courts under uniform international standards for the federal courts can supervise the process or is it better to direct us -- those of us to litigate these cases come up to 50 states, where the state courts handle all these questions and the supreme court has even less of a possibility of supervising issues better of importance to the united states and require a uniform federal treatment. >> that is not exactly responsive to your next question, but that is relevant. >> my name is michael stone. i would like to follow up on a hypothetical about advising the secretary of state to an
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assertion of jurisdiction against her because of drone strikes in yemen. it seems to me those circumstances are different and you have an act of a senior government official in that capacity and the strikes have been authorized by the government of yemen. could you -- could refrain that as one sovereign coming to the assistance of another sovereign? those circumstances are defensible. it seems a can be distinguished from the type of corporate conduct at issue in this case. >> that is a different doctrine. you are right. if the secretary of state were actually sued outside the united states, we would argue that she had immunity.
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if you are the legal adviser to the secretary of state, i would like to see you argue to hillary clinton, do not worry, madame secretary, we will encourage these cases against two around the world, but at the end of the day, you'll be fine. honestly, right now, international does not recognize international civil jurisdiction. does the united states want to encourage that, recognizing that it is going to be more likely to be used against the united states and its officials than perhaps anyone else in the world? if you are, this is an important point for you all as students, you are a lawyer for a client. you are the lawyer of for the secretary of defense, leon
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panetta, the you tell him, it is so important for these cases to be heard in the united states so that we can write these wrongs around the world. -- right these wrongs around the world. do not worry if you get sued, but at the end of the day, the united states will support team. you can make the argument. your principal is not going to agree with you as his or her lawyer. to be want to encourage these things around the world? -- do we want to encourage these things around the world? >> what if we are talking about the companies that manufactured the drunkones? it would not surprise me if they had or they soon will be. >> many people, why didn't the
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united states become party to the statute? for all of these same reasons, one can understand, the united states has always stood up for accountability. congress actually passed a resolution saying there ought to be an international criminal tribunal. at the end of the day, it was the defense department in the clinton administration that was concerned that an international criminal court would be used against the united states. yes, there is real value for international criminal court. i just read and op-ed about the 10th anniversary of the statute. the senate is not going to approve the statute, but we ought to cooperate with the more and more. the inside the u.s. government come inside the u.s. government, there are real concerns about having law being used against the united states.
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caulks can i say something? -- >> can i say something? i agree that it is important to always be thinking about your client. i would like to put a little bit of a different spin on something that was said earlier. it is difficult to get government official. if that is what these cases bring up -- on behalf of my client, it is difficult to be torture survivor. it is difficult to be a survivor of rape and slave labor. it is wrong outcome to take away the only access they have to justice, to slam the doors and say, you cannot even try. you cannot even come to court and tell your story and try to see justice. try to overcome political questions.
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all of these things that are available to defendants. for my clients, if it is hard to be a u.s. government official. i am not sympathetic to that. [applause] they have a lot of opportunities to have these conversations. >> these are the emotional arguments we have inside the government. you try to balance all these different concerns. the united states, republican or democratic, it does more to promote human rights than any country in the world in terms of the things we do, money that we provide. i agree with your -- there needs to be accountability. the united states provides avenues for accountability.
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should the united states government the urging this statute, which was not passed by congress, to provide jurisdiction in these cases? is that something the u.s. government should support? >> let's think about this case. the idea that if we get to sue these two corporations that hillary clinton is at risk of anything happening to her is nonsensical. it is nonsensical. the netherlands and the united kingdom -- our relations with them are not going to be hurt if there is litigation of this sort. there is litigation involving corporations honor range of issues around the world. -- on a range of issues are around the world. why should we disadvantaged human rights victims when it comes to these principles? for makes its living on
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that. -- your firm makes its living on that. >> the justice department. this particular case -- nigeria took no position on the case. the netherlands and the united kingdom have never protested the case. the european union says there is not a problem. there may be cases where governments have filed more vociferous protests. and apart -- and apartheid case was one of those cases where the south african government was opposed the apartheid cases which were originally brought. when the cases came back down from the pill and to work modified, to change the claims
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for relief, to take out some of the defendants, the south african government filed a document saying we do not have any problems with this anymore. you have alleviated our concerns. indonesia protested initially, the district court judge modified discovery. there were no further protests. these are things that can be handled in litigation and they come up in the human rights field, and they come up in a variety of other fields. >> we are out of time. >> we are out of time.